Moral Development : Theory and Applications book cover
1st Edition

Moral Development
Theory and Applications

ISBN 9780415821902
Published February 4, 2014 by Routledge
200 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2014!

This class-tested text provides a comprehensive overview of the classical and current theories of moral development and applications of these theories in various counseling and educational settings. Lively and accessible, this text engages students through numerous examples and boxes that highlight applications of moral development concepts in today’s media and/or interviews from some of today’s leading theorists or practitioners. Dilemma of the Day boxes help readers apply theory to real world situations. Each chapter concludes with discussion questions and further resources. Summary tables of theory strengths and weaknesses (Part 1) and tables that connect applications to their theoretical roots are provided in Part 2.

Other highlights include:

  • Provides an excellent resource for courses addressing the CACREP program objectives for Human Growth and Development.
  • Emphasis on application helps readers make the connection between theory and moral issues of our time.
  • Examines changes across time and experience in how people understand right and wrong and individual differences in moral judgments, emotions, and actions.

  • Demonstrates how theory is used by today‘s helping professionals (Part 1).
  • Integrates issues of gender and ethnicity throughout to prepare readers for practicing in a global culture.
  • Chapter on global perspectives (ch. 6) reviews theories on the cultural aspects of morality including examples from China, Islam, Latin America, and Africa.
  • Reviews the latest research methods techniques used in the field.
  • Integrates classic work with contemporary guidelines for assessment and treatment.
  • Highlights research on the moral and empathic development of antisocial youth, psychopaths, and individuals diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.

Each chapter in Part 1 provides a comprehensive overview of the theory under review, its strengths and challenges, and examples of how the theory applies to helping professionals. The theories covered include those by Freud, Piaget, Kohlberg, Rest, Gilligan, Nodding, Bandura, Turiel, Nucci, Haidt, and Shweder. Part 1 concludes with a summary of the key points and the strengths and weaknesses of each of the theories reviewed. Part 2 highlights promising applications of moral development theory in education and counseling. These include coverage of character education programs based on sound developmental theory and examples of how drawing on a deep grounding in moral development theory can help future counselors better evaluate their clients’ cognitive, emotional and behavioral challenges. The text explores specific approaches to helping clients with a variety of dysfunctional or developmental behavior problems like conduct disorder and psychopathy.

Ideal as a text for advanced undergraduate and/or graduate courses on moral development or moral psychology or as a supplement in courses on human and/or child and/or social and personality development taught in psychology, counseling, education, human development, family studies, social work, and religion, this book’s applied approach also appeals to mental health and school counselors.

Table of Contents

Part I. Moral Development in the 21st Century: Theoretical Roots and New Directions  1. Introduction  2. Classic Theories of Morality: Freud and Piaget  3. From Stages to Schemas: Kohlberg and Rest  4. Theoretical Challenges to Classic Cognitive Developmental Models  5.The Rise of Theories from Neuroscience and Evolutionary Perspectives  6. Global Perspectives: A Sampling of Research and Issues  7. Conclusion: In a Different Mind  Part II. Applications of Theory to Practice  8. Applied Moral Education: Accomplishments and New Directions  9. Development Therapy: Helping Clients Grapple with Core Moral Issues  10. When Development Goes Awry: Deficits in moral and empathic development  11. Conclusion: How to Live and What to do?

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Elizabeth C. Vozzola is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Honors Program at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT, USA.


"This is an excellent resource for those teaching courses in human development, specifically courses needed by individuals seeking licensing and accreditation (e.g., social work, psychology) from licensing boards with defined cognitive objectives in the area of human growth and development (e.g., CACREP). In addition, the book is valuable for those wishing to get up to speed on the topic of moral development and those struggling with individuals with moral issues. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, professionals, general readers." - R.E. Osborne, Texas State University, in CHOICE, September 2014 

"Moral Development is a unique book in that it so effectively provides extensive coverage of the theoretical side of moral development but also serves as a very useable guide for those who are interested in moral development from an educational or therapeutic standpoint." - Michelle Stroffolino Schmidt, PsycCRITIQUES

"Vozzola masterfully delves into controversial areas with finesse, examines unresolved disputes without hesitation and throughout it all maintains a friendly writing style. The book will engage students, broaden their imaginations, and guide them in practical application. I plan to use it in my courses and strongly endorse it for every undergraduate course addressing moral development!" - Darcia Narvaez, University of Notre Dame, USA

"Elly Vozzola leads aspiring professionals through the hills and valleys of moral psychology. Hers is a thoughtful survey of the evolution of moral development accompanied by useful triggers for reflection and discussion. As a textbook it is invitingly written and I would warmly commend it to teachers wishing to introduce their students to a sensitive account of moral development." - James Conroy, University of Glasgow, UK

"Moral Development is just the sort of book the field has been waiting for. Clear, accessible, and comprehensive, this text also brings students into the current debates in the field involving neuroscience and evolutionary theory in a clear and lively way." - Sharon Lamb, University of Massachusetts-Boston, USA

"Many students struggle with combining theory and practice and this book serves as a nice model of this important connection. ... [It] provides the reader with concrete examples of how moral development is carried out in therapy. ...This book adds a great deal to the existing literature in the field in an accessible and useful manner." - Stefanie Sinno, Muhlenberg College, USA

"Vozzola has a lively writing style, which students will appreciate ... By using very practical examples and memorable interview quotations, Vozzola provides a very interesting survey of the variety of perspectives and a compelling case for their usefulness. ... I would use and recommend it. I believe it would be very useful to students and teachers." - John R. Snarey, Emory University, USA

"The writing style ... is personal and "down to earth" ... like reading a good novel. ... Most texts review Piaget, Kohlberg and Gilligan. ... This text goes beyond that in terms of both theory and application. ... It is appropriate for graduate and upper division undergraduate courses. ... I would consider adopting this book. ... After providing a theoretical foundation ... the author then looks at the current research from a cultural perspective and ... helps the student apply both theory and research in order to utilize the knowledge learned." - Rebecca J. Glover, University of North Texas, USA

"In this work, Elizabeth Vozzola tackles an important challenge: to provide a balanced, comprehensive review of moral development theory and applications for a broad audience. She is up to the task, building on her decades of experience in the field to offer, in under 200 pages, an integrated and thoughtful outline that will be especially relevant for advanced undergraduate and graduate students preparing for work in education and the helping professions... The book incorporates various integrative and pedagogical features, including interviews with prominent theorists in the field, and well-presented tables that compare and contrast salient features of relevant theories and programmes. This text will also prove useful for those in cognate fields who want a current overview of moral development and education. Vozzola’s writing style is informal and she shares many incidents from her own journey as a teacher in the field... Vozzola’s goal is to prime moral interest and provide tools for the journey. To this end she succeeds admirably, providing a historical sweep of the field of moral development and a sense of its complexity and potential. I suspect the book will prompt many new to the field to rethink their moral assumptions as well as consider further study." -Jay W. Brandenberger, University of Notre Dame, Journal of Moral Education