By Tess Guzman, Neuropsychology; Megan McCarren, Neuroscience
Advisor: Taylor Wadian
Abstract: A "moral rebel" is someone who refuses to comply, stay silent, or conform to others when doing so would compromise his/her values (Monin et al., 2008). Although the term is relatively new to psychological inquiry, research_suggests that the tendency to be a moral rebel involves possessing characteristics that reflect a (1) strong, internalized moral identity, and (2) high "moral courage" (e.g., high self-esteem and low need to belong; Sonnentag et al., 2018). Although research supports the idea that moral rebellion is motivated by two clusters of characteristics, this research has only examined adolescents' tendencies. Little is known about the factors associated with individuals' tendencies to be a moral rebel in older samples. The present study was_designed_to address this gap in the literature by examining_correlates_of, as well as age-related differences in,_the tendency to be a moral rebel in a sample of 190 adults representing three distinct stages of adulthood: young, middle, and older adulthood. Analyses examining age-related differences revealed the tendency to be a moral rebel increases from young adulthood to middle adulthood and then stabilizes in middle adulthood. Analyses examining correlates of the tendency to be a moral rebel revealed that possessing a_strong, internalized_moral identity and high_degree of_"moral courage"_were_consistently_correlated with the tendency to be a moral rebel_across_all three stages of_adulthood.__Implications suggest that although the tendency to be a moral rebel may change across development, the characteristics that motivate moral rebellion do not.