A Study of Moral Development and Self-Concept In Academically Talented Residential High School Students

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

Frances A. Karnes

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling


The present study was designed to examine the relationship between the criterion variable of moral development and the predictor variables of self-concept, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status in academically talented students. One hundred and fifteen students in grades 11 and 12 from a residential mathematics and science high school in Mississippi were administered the Defining Issues Test, version 2 (DIT-2; Rest & Narvaez; 1998), the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale (Piers & Harris, 1969), and a demographic information questionnaire. Multiple linear regression techniques including both total model and semi-partial correlation were used to test the hypotheses of this study. No significant correlation nor independent relationship was found between moral development and self-concept. Results indicate that gender and ethnicity were statistically significant positive predictor variables for moral development. Females obtained significantly higher moral development scores than males. Subjects whose ethnicity was identified as Asian American, East Indian, Middle Eastern, and Hispanic were collapsed into a category named Other. Subjects in the Other ethnic category had significantly higher moral development scores than did Caucasian or African American participants. Conclusions, implication, and recommendations for future research are included.