Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Human Development 48 (2005), pp. 232–256.

doi 10.1159/000086859


Copyright © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel. Used by permission.


Theory and research regarding moral motivation has focused for decades on the roles of moral reasoning and, to some extent, moral emotion. Recently, however, several models of morality have positioned identity as an additional important source of moral motivation. An individual has a moral identity to the extent that he or she has constructed his or her sense of self around moral concerns (e.g., moral values). This paper reviews theory and research linking moral identity to moral behavior and commitment. Additionally, it suggests several key unanswered questions about moral identity and provides recommendations for future research.