Construct validity of the Moral Development Scale for Professionals (MDSP)
Olle Söderhamn1,2, John Olav Bjørnestad1, Anne Skisland1, Christina Cliffordson2
1Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, Grimstad and Kristiansand, Norway; 2Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden
Abstract: The aim of this study was to investigate the construct validity of the Moral Development Scale for Professionals (MDSP) using structural equation modeling. The instrument is a 12-item self-report instrument, developed in the Scandinavian cultural context and based on Kohlberg’s theory. A hypothesized simplex structure model underlying the MDSP was tested through structural equation modeling. Validity was also tested as the proportion of respondents older than 20 years that reached the highest moral level, which according to the theory should be small. A convenience sample of 339 nursing students with a mean age of 25.3 years participated. Results confirmed the simplex model structure, indicating that MDSP reflects a moral construct empirically organized from low to high. A minority of respondents >20 years of age (13.5%) scored more than 80% on the highest moral level. The findings support the construct validity of the MDSP and the stages and levels in Kohlberg’s theory.
Keywords: Kohlberg, scale testing, simplex structure model, structural equation modeling
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