Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Charles Gressard


The study examined the effects of integrating a cognitive-developmental approach with professional ethics training on the moral and conceptual development, self-presentation styles, and ethical decision-making skills of graduate counseling students. The sample was comprised of students who enrolled in counseling courses at the College of William and Mary. The ethics intervention group was compared to two groups; one group who received the traditionally taught ethics course, and one group who had not taken the ethics course at William and Mary. Instruments used included the Defining Issues Test (DIT), Paragraph Completion Method (PCM), and Concern For Appropriateness scale (CFA). Students were also administered an adapted format of the Moral Judgment Interview that depicted ethical dilemmas in counseling. The intervention methodologies used included the components of Deliberate Psychological Education (DPE), moral discussions, and a Conceptual Matching Model approach.;The results failed to support expectations that students in the intervention group would obtain significantly higher DIT and PCM post-test scores than the other two groups. A significant inverse relationship was only found between CFA and PCM pre-test scores. Stages 3-3 /4 levels of reasoning were largely used in responding to ethical dilemmas. A qualitative analysis of interview and journal responses indicated that the intervention course did impact students' personal and professional growth.



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