Date of Award

9-2010

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Psychology

First Advisor

Ronnie Janoff-Bulman

Second Advisor

Icek Aizen

Third Advisor

Brian Lickel

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social Psychology

Abstract

Traditionally, attribution theory argues that strong external controls such as parental punishment undermine moral internalization. In contrast, this project argues that parental punishment does socialize morality, but it socializes moral prohibitions (rather than moral prescriptions) in particular. A strong focus on prohibitions, a proscriptive orientation, has unintended consequences. Study 1 found young adults' accounts of parental restrictiveness to predict their proscriptive orientation such that recalling the degree of how restrictive and punitive one's parents were activated a proscriptive dispositional sensitivity. Study 2 found that restrictive parenting was positively associated with shame. Further, for individuals with highly restrictive parents, temptations positively were related to shame. Due to the shame associated with temptations for individuals with restrictive parents, mental suppression was more difficult for them. After experimentally priming a proscriptive (versus prescriptive) orientations and inducing mental suppression of "immoral" thoughts, Study 3 found an interaction between proscriptive prime and parental restrictiveness such that the proscriptive prime caused the greatest amount of ego depletion, a loss of self-regulatory resources for those with restrictive parents. In the end, individuals who were most focused on prohibitions and had restrictive parents felt the most shame and had the lowest self-regulatory ability to resist their "immoral" temptations.

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