Student Author(s)

Grace Hannah, Hope College

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Aaron Franzen, Sociology & Social Work

Document Type


Event Date



All individuals have a sense of what actions are moral or immoral, even without specifically deliberating about decisions. Prior research has shown that moral foundations theory is helpful in understanding variations in moral sentiments within a population. These moral foundations consist of five domains: harm, fairness, in-group/loyalty, authority, and purity/sanctity. For this research project, we looked into how respondents’ religious affiliation, gender, and political ideology affected their core moral foundations. We sent an electronic questionnaire to college freshman who indicated an interest in a health related studies or profession from an initial survey they took before beginning college. Results show that the most consistent relationship is with more liberal political ideologies. More liberal political ideology was positively related with fairness and negatively related with every other moral foundation except harm. It would also be interesting to situate students’ within a family context and get similar responses from parents regarding their religious affiliation, church attendance, and political ideology since these are incoming college freshman.

Included in

Sociology Commons