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Moral identity, Moral emotions and Moral reasoning


The Psychological Development of Character: Moral Identity, Moral emotions, Moral reasoning

What is the purpose of the study and why am I being asked to participate?

The project focusses on how character and virtue develop in adolescence and whether moral identity, moral emotion and moral reasoning play a role in motivating behaviour. The period of adolescence marks the transition between childhood to adulthood, with adolescents being given more autonomy to make their own decisions. Yet, this increased autonomy also comes at a time when adolescents are faced with balancing multiple influences, such as social media, peer pressure and academic expectations. By learning more about what underpins moral behaviour we hope to equip adolescents with the tools to increase good decision making

This new project is one of many being launched by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues in the School of Education. If you would like to keep updated on the progress of this project and its findings (as well as the other projects run by the Jubilee Centre) you can do so by visiting the Centre Website: as well as our project page.

What will I be asked to do?

The study involves completing an online questionnaire. This will involve:

  • Reading two stories and answering questions about how you would act if you were faced with a similar situation and why.
  • Answering questions about your personality and what traits you feel are important to you.
  • Answering questions on your helping behaviours.

Overall, this will take around an hour.  All we ask is that you answer questions as honestly as possible.


Do I have to take part?

Your involvement in the study is completely voluntary. If you decide to take part, you are still free to withdraw at any time during the session, without giving us a reason. You are also free to withdraw your data after completion of the study within 3 weeks of data collection; you can do so by contacting the lead researcher. However, once data has been included in material for publication withdrawal will not be possible.

What are the possible benefits and risks of taking part?

There is no direct benefit or risk to you. However, your contribution is incredibly important to help our understanding of decision making and to identify possible interventions to help adolescents with their decision making skills. If you do find any of the questions upsetting or personal you do not have to answer them. You may also speak to the researcher if you have any questions. After filling in the questionnaire you will see a page with advice and contact numbers for people who are worried about their mental health. Please keep these details safe even if you do not feel like you need it now, in case you need it in the future.

What happens to my answers?

All of the information collected is fully confidential. Your answers are never linked with your name. Only the research team will have access to the consent form showing your name and ID number, and it will be stored in a locked filing cabinet in a private office at the University of Birmingham. Your answers will be put together with that of other participants and nobody will be able to know what answers you put down. Your data will be stored for 10 years after the study is finished.


Who can I ask for further information about the study?

If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact the lead researcher Dr Catherine Darnell either via email or phone 0121 414 7028.


What do I do now?

If you are happy to participate please fill in the consent form on the next page then begin filling in the questionnaires.


Thank you for taking the time to read this information sheet.