Assessment of levels of moral reasoning in pharmacy students at different stages of the undergraduate curriculum

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    Objectives: The principal aim of this study was to demonstrate the maturation of moral reasoning among pharmacy students as they progress through a 4-year degree programme at a school of pharmacy in the UK. Methods: The moral reasoning of 332 students from across all 4 years of the Master of Pharmacy (M Pharm) degree, together with 13 faculty members, was assessed using Rest's Defining Issues Test over a 1-week period. Key findings: The results demonstrate clear increase moral reasoning scores through all years of study and on into membership of the faculty. This trend was highly significant (t = 7.09; df = 1; P < 0.001). The coefficient of variability (R2) was calculated as 0.92 using linear least squares regression. There was a wide range of moral reasoning scores at each educational level: the top 18% of the Level 1 cohort achieved higher scores than the bottom 11% of faculty. Conclusions: The students at a school of pharmacy at a UK university experienced significant moral growth throughout the course of their studies. A further, longitudinal study of the cohort, which attempts to correlate the moral development with age, sex, level of education and mode of delivery of moral education is warranted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)374-380
    Number of pages6
    JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice (IJPP)
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • defining issues test
    • moral development
    • moral reasoning


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