A comparison of the moral orientation of children reared in traditional families and those reared in matrifocal families

Bales, Gillian Margaret
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The moc lvat ion for this study arose fro'm the need to bring empirical evidence to.bear on the assumptions underlying existing .social and legal pzact.Lces that discriminate against lesbian mothers on the basis o£ their sexual orientation. rfhese prc\ctices appear to be rooted in myths and prejudices rather than being based upon factual data. In view of this need the present study aimed to determine whether adolescents' moral judgement was influenced by whether the mother had a partner in the home and whether the gender of the partner ( male versus female ) 5.mpacted upon such development. To achieve this aim, the performance of adolescents, matched as far as was possible in terms of age, sex and socio-economic status I but from three different family structures ( lesbian couple, heterosexual single-mother and traditional heterosexual married couples ), was assessed on a paper and pencil test of moral judgement, and was then compared. statistical analysis of the data, using an Analysis of Variance procedure, revealed that the means of the three groups did not differ significantly. While the results did not. confirm the hypothesis that the presence of a partner in the home would enhance the moral judgement of adolescents t the data supported the contention that. maternal lesbianism dOes not impact negai~ively on moral judgement.
A dissertation submitted to the faculty of Arts, Un'rvers;ty of the \'litwatsrsr.and, Jc;~han'nesb~Jrth ; n p~:rti\:il .\fu;lfilment of 'thel requ.'i reme:,.\l'tis f~r the Ol~gr'e~) (.)f Naster of J"Irts n?l irdca.l. Ps,ycholoSY). June 1994