Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

January 1996


Published in Developmental Psychology, 32:2 (1996), pp. 231-240. Copyright © 1996 American Psychological Association. Used by permission. “This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.”


This research examined the correlates of prosocial moral reasoning (PMR) in 2 studies. Study I investigated age, gender, and culture group differences in PMR in Brazilian children and adolescents (n = 265) and U.S. adolescents (n = 67). Relations between PMR and both prosocial behaviors and gender role orientations in Brazilian adolescents (n = 136) were explored in Study 2. Self-reflective, internalized reasoning was positively related, and hedonistic reasoning was negatively related, to peer ratings of prosocial behaviors. Femininity was associated with more self-reflective, internalized concerns and with less concerns regarding gaining others’ approval. In general, age and gender differences in PMR were similar for both Brazilian and U.S. adolescents. However, U.S. adolescents scored higher on internalized moral reasoning than Brazilian adolescents. Discussion focused on the correlates of PMR in Brazilian and U.S. children.