Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to examine the interrelatedness of cognitive, role-taking, and moral judgment abilities. The problem of this study was to determine whether there was a significant difference between the cognitive, role-taking and moral judgment skills of emotionally disturbed adolescents when compared with their normal peers.;While studies investigating this relationship have been few in number, there is an apparent positive relationship among the three variables with cognitive development providing the foundation for the role-taking and moral judgment development. Role-taking abilities also seem to be necessary for the development of one's moral judgment skills.;A sample of nine emotionally disturbed adolescents and their matched normal peers were drawn from the pupil population of two school systems in the Tidewater area of Virginia. Each subject was assessed on four measures: The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test to obtain a near IQ; the Binet-Simon Absurd Sentences Test to obtain a cognitive level of functioning; Flavell's Picture Story Role-taking Task to determine each subject's level of role-taking abilities; and Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Interview Form A to assess the level of moral judgment development.;The general hypothesis is emotionally disturbed adolescents, when matched to normal adolescents for age, sex, race and intelligence, will score significantly lower on tests of cognitive, role-taking and moral judgment development.;Results of this study indicated no difference between the two samples for mental and chronological ages or for intellectual abilities. A notable difference was present between the groups for level of cognitive functioning. A significant difference was found between the role-taking abilities of each sample and only a slight difference noted between the moral judgment skills of both groups with the emotionally disturbed adolescents being the weaker in each category.;In pointing out the strong relationship among the cognitive, role-taking and moral judgment skills of adolescents in general and of emotionally disturbed adolescents in particular, this study points out the need for education and treatment programs for emotionally disturbed adolescents to provide some intervention strategy that would include training in the cognitive and role-taking areas.



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