College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-9-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jane Halpert, PhD

Second Advisor

Shelly Rauvola, PhD


The following research utilized Moral Foundations Theory to evaluate individuals on the five moral foundations (harm/care, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, sanctity/degradation) and liberalism-conservatism as predictors for views on morally controversial topics. According to a 2021 Gallup poll, some of the most morally contested issues were abortion, doctor-assisted suicide, and changing one’s gender. This study sourced participants from LinkedIn and then Sona (DePaul University’s undergraduate subject pool) using a blended phasing plan to ensure a politically diverse sample (N =213). This research replicated findings from Graham et al. (2009) that liberals and conservatives operate from different moral foundations. This study also extended findings from Tilburt et al. (2013) that the importance individuals place on moral foundations predicted differences in judgements on morally controversial topics, in particular that the sanctity foundation is a significant predictor for views on abortion and doctor-assisted suicide (and changing one’s gender) over and above the other moral foundations. While authority did not significantly predict views on changing one’s gender, lower harm/care scores were the strongest negative predictor for level of objection to changing one’s gender. As I-O psychologists strive to make the workplace more inclusive, if moral foundations indeed relate to liberalism-conservatism and predict views on different topics, a moral diversity training may serve as a unique complement to the DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) space, as opposed to politically focused diversity trainings.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons