Date of Award

12-1994

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Edward Trembley

Second Advisor

Joseph Morris

Third Advisor

Malcom Robertson

Abstract

The phenomenon of codependency is currently under considerable scrutiny as to its actual meaning and whether the concept is biased against women, ignores normal psychological development, and is subject to the "Bamum effect". Codependent relationships are widely considered dysfunctional, yet normal psychological development may play a role in these relationships which is not dysfunctional. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between codependency and Kohlberg's stages of moral development It was proposed that codependency would be highly correlated with Kohlberg's interpersonal concordance orientation stage. The sample consisted of sixty adult subjects who were assessed as codependent Thirty-one subjects were treated for codependency and twenty-nine were untreated. These subjects were involved in outpatient and residential chemical dependency treatment agencies. Each subject completed the Spann-Fischer Codependency Scale, the Sociomoral Reflection Objective Measure (SROM), and a demographic information sheet.

An analysis of variance was used to evaluate the mean differences of codependency scores among Kohlberg's stages of moral development. There were no significant differences found. An analysis of variance was used to evaluate the mean differences of codependency scores among codependents in treatment, codependents who were not in treatment, and a codependency control group. There were no significant differences found. Contingency tables were used to determine whether differences exist in the stage of development between codependents in treatment and codependents who were not in treatment. No significant differences were found.

The results of this study did not support the premise that a higher degree of codependency would be associated with Kohlberg's interpersonal concordance orientation stage (3) of moral development. Recommendations for research in this area were made and therapists were encouraged to assess their clients for stage of moral development when treating for codependency.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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