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Transcendence and the Moral Self: Identity Integration, Religion, and Moral Life

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Although moral reasoning is able to account for some of the variability in moral behavior, much remains unexplained. Recently, a number of components of personality have been proposed as bridging the gap between moral reasoning and moral behavior. The present study investigates the role that identity integration (the extent to which one's moral values have become integrated into identity) and religious orientation (one's motivation for engaging in religious practice) play in moral functioning. A sample of 60 undergraduates was assessed on identity integration, religious orientation, moral reasoning, and self-reported altruism. We found positive correlations among moral reasoning, identity integration, intrinsic religious orientation, and self-reported altruism. A hierarchical regression analysis, however, revealed moral reasoning to be the only significant predictor of self-reported altruistic behavior. We discuss the relationship between moral reasoning and identity integration and the extent to which the intrinsic religious orientation scale may be a measure of identity integration in the religious domain.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of British Columbia 2: University of Northern British Columbia

Publication date: 2004-09-01

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