Moral Identity: What Is It, How Does It Develop, and Is It Linked to Moral Action?


  • We greatly appreciate Ryan Funk for his assistance editing and improving the clarity of this manuscript.

  • Gustavo Carlo is now in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Missouri.

concerning this article should be addressed to Sam A. Hardy, Department of Psychology, 1040 SWKT, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602; e-mail:


Abstract— The study of moral identity may be one of the more promising new trends in moral psychology. Moral identity is the degree to which being a moral person is important to a person’s identity. This article reviews the various ways in which moral identity is understood, discusses predictors and processes of moral identity, and presents evidence regarding links between moral identity and various moral actions. The article closes with a critical evaluation of the moral identity concept and a discussion of future research directions.