Date of Conferral







Rachel Piferi


Research has shown a relationship between having a strict father upbringing, defined by rules reinforcement and self-discipline beliefs, and the presence of high levels of social dominance orientation (SDO) and right-wing authoritarianism (RWA). The relationship between these variables and issue choice has been established, but no study has explored the connection between parental upbringing and moral foundations. Furthermore, the connection to political candidate choice has not been shown. This study investigated the relationship between people's parental upbringing beliefs, their adult morality, and their rating of ideal presidential candidate characteristics. Based on the moral foundation theory, a mixed methods study was conducted to examine the relationship among upbringing, moral foundations, RWA, SDO, socioeconomic status (SES), and candidate selection by surveying 221 adult participants recruited online and in the community. Linear regression analysis was conducted to examine how levels of SDO, RWA, and the strict father variables predict the 5 five moral foundations. Qualitative analysis, through the use of open-ended questions, explored presidential candidate choice by rating people's preference of the 5 moral foundations, the strict father nurturing parent worldviews, SDO, RWA, and subjective SES, as expressed in their ideal president. Results indicated that upbringing is related to RWA for conservatives and inversely related to SDO for liberals. Also, participants exhibited a rules reinforcement versus self-discipline left-right political dichotomy. Participants favored a tough-minded president on foreign affairs. This study's results will enable voters to understand how their political attitudes may be formed and how they could be scrutinized and manipulated by those with an interest in doing so.