Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


During the past three decades there has been a resurgence of interest among the social sciences in the study of morality. Among the theoretical perspectives demonstrating this growing interest has been the trait/individual difference approach, represented by the comprehensive personality-based theories of Peck and Havighurst (1960) and Hogan (1973), and a variety of more narrowly focused, trait-based instruments. One such instrument is The Character Assessment Scale (CAS) developed by Schmidt (1981, 1987). The CAS is a 225-item, true-false scale incorporating conventional moral values. scale composition includes (a) eight moral strength scales, (b) eight corresponding moral weakness scales, (c) eight combined moral resource scales (moral strength - moral weakness= moral resource), and (d) a total morality index. While some evidence exists for the reliability of the CAS, its validity has not yet been adequately explored. iv The current study examined the construct validity of the CAS utilizing a scale-level exploratory factor analytic approach with the normative sample data (N 561) . Separate analyses for males and females were performed to control for possible gender-related effects. Factor extraction proceeded using a principle components approach, followed by an oblique rotation. A four-factor solution was found for both males and females based on a roots-greater-than-one criterion, examination of the scree plots, and the psychological meaningfulness of each factor. Factor 1, which accounted for approximately 35% of the total variance, was a bipolar factor containing the majority of the moral weakness scales inversely related to the Denial and Honesty scales. The three remaining factors included (a) a factor containing the majority of moral strength scales, (b) a bipolar factor involving Sexual Integrity and Lust, and (c) a bipolar factor that included Physical Fitness and Gluttony. Marginally significant gender differences were found among the variable loadings for some factors. The strengths and weaknesses of the CAS in form, structure, and psychometric properties were discussed. Of concern was the finding that many of the subscales demonstrated significant relationships with age, education level, and frequency of church attendance. Based on these observations and the factor analytic results, recommendations for future studies utilizing the CAS were presented. It was concluded that the current utility of the scale is limited.

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