“Non‐rational Guilt”: predictors of its appearance in processes of change in moral values

Journal of Moral Education 23 (2):145-164 (1994)
Non-rational guilt is particularly manifest and significant in processes of change in moral values. This study analyses the relationships between diverse predictors and this type of guilt in subjects holding positive moral opinions about different problems, with parents maintaining negative views about them. Two hundred and fifty-two subjects were requested to answer a questionnaire, in an attempt to measure the values of the subjects and those of their parents and friends on certain problems, the type of discipline most frequently used by parents, and the degree of “morality-religiosity” and “autonomy” within the family. The results revealed that guilt feelings in processes of change involving the problems considered in the study were more intense in females, subjects with a high degree of “morality-religiosity” in the family environment, and subjects having experienced more “induction regarding parents” and less “reasoning”. However, the more favourable the friends' moral opinion about the issues in question, the less intense the subjects' guilt
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