The relationship of protestant fundamentalism and intellectual and moral development among college students
Copeland, Thomas V,
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The purpose of this study was to assess levels of Protestant fundamentalism, intellectual development, and moral development among traditional-age Protestant college students to ascertain the nature of the relationship between fundamentalism and the two developmental variables. To accomplish this, 242 participants were selected from four regional, church-affiliated higher education institutions. Data were collected using a demographic sheet, the Copeland Fundamentalism Scale, Erwin's Scale of Intellectual Development and Rest's Defining Issues Test. Developmental differences between fundamentalists and non-fundamentalists were analyzed using an analysis of variance (ANOVA) with multiple ttests as follow-up measures. Significant demographic differences were analyzed using multiple t-tests. Results indicated a significant inverse relationship between Protestant fundamentalism and intellectual and moral development among the participants. In addition, educational level and age were significantly related to Protestant fundamentalism. These findings generally support previous research regarding fundamentalism and intellectual and moral development. In contrast to previous research, this study classified fundamentalists based on empirical data, rather than demographic characteristics. This study should provide educators in Christian institutions with a clear indication of the potentially negative impact of fundamentalist thinking on students'intellectual and moral development. In addition, the findings should assist educators in learning to deal sensitively and constructively with fundamentalist students.