Teens Decreasing Morality

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International Education Journal Vol 2, No 4, 2001 Educational Research Conference 2001 Special Issue http://www.flinders.edu.au/education/iej

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Some aspects of moral values among university students in three societies: Poland, Australia and the Philippines J.J. Smolicz, D.M. Hudson and M.J. Secombe1 Graduate School of Education, Adelaide University

The paper reports the findings from a comparative study of moral values undertaken among university students from five universities in the Philippines, Poland and Australia. The aim of the study was to compare the way students brought up in different cultural traditions, but subjected to the homogenizing trends of globalization, evaluated what they deemed as the most appropriate solutions to some of the basic life dilemmas facing individuals today. The respondents were senior undergraduate and postgraduate students drawn from education and social science faculties in two independent Catholic and three secular state universities. A total of 448 students participated in the study, with 80 to 100 students originating from each university. This paper presents a detailed analysis of one example from each of three categories of moral dilemmas, in which students were asked to state their position in relation to twelve issues including abortion, extramarital affairs and stealing. In addition to providing concrete data on themselves, students indicated whether they believed the actions listed were wrong, acceptable or dependent on circumstances. The students’ responses to the issues showed a generally consistent position for each university along a value orientation continuum ranging from Traditional Christian to ‘Post-modern Individualist’. The degree of support for Traditional Christian values varied, however, from issue to issue according to the university and country under investigation. moral values; abortion; infidelity; stealing; tertiary students; international.

INTRODUCTION As a result of global secular influences, it could be expected that responses to moral dilemmas would have become more uniform across different cultural and ethnic and religious groups. In order to ascertain any possible modification to or rejection of traditional moral values crossculturally, the study sought the views of young people who were university students in three different countries and in institutions with different ideological profiles. The researchers had access to the collection of comparable data in Poland, the Philippines and Australia - countries very different in their regions, cultures and histories. It should be stressed that the study did not aim to take the form of a statistical analysis of variables to test a pre-established hypothesis which could lead to any predictions for a wider population.

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This comparative study was not funded by any organisation, but was the result of co-operative efforts among colleagues in the three countries concerned. The authors, in particular, would like to express their gratitude to Ms Monika Koniecko, Professor Elzbieta Halas, Dr Illuminado Nical, Ms Susana Manzon and Mr Robert de la Serna for the contribution they have made to the data collection and analysis of this paper.

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Some aspects of moral values among university students in three societies

The theoretical framework of the study is based on the humanistic sociological conceptualization of Znaniecki, in which the term ‘moral values’ refers to the meanings which group members are expected to accept as a guide to right and proper conduct and the way in which they should act in their daily life. Znaniecki (1963: 267-70) draws an important theoretical distinction between the ideological attitudes which individuals profess in terms of the religious and moral values of their group, and the tendencies to action which these same individuals reveal in the specific contexts of daily life. UNIVERSITY PROFILES Data were gathered from a total of 448 respondents, drawn from five...
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