- Moral development and recidivism: a meta-analysis
- International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
- Volume | Issue number
- 55 | 8
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
A meta-analysis of 19 studies (N = 15,992 offenders) showed a significant inverse relation between more mature moral development and recidivism. Moderator analyses revealed a larger effect size for moral cognition (r = .20) than for moral emotion (r = .11). Effect sizes for production measures (r = .57) were much larger than for recognition measures (r = .16) and unstructured (clinical) judgment (r = .10). Larger effect sizes were found for female delinquents (r = .32) than for male delinquents (r = .21). Only small differences in effect sizes were found between juvenile delinquents (r = .10) and adult delinquents (r = .16). Finally, self-report measures of recidivism revealed much larger effect sizes (r = .32) than official reports of recidivism (r = .09). The discussion focuses on the theoretical and practical meaning of the magnitude of the effect size for the relation between moral development and recidivism.
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