Moral courage: Definition, findings, and interventions

Kai J. Jonas*, Veronika Brandstatter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)


Moral courage is an important topic for social psychology. Politicians often appeal to the general public to show more civil courageous behavior. Yet it is not clear what this behavior should actually look like. Offering behavioral trainings can do away with this shortcoming. A prerequisite for the development of such trainings is a concise and behavior-oriented definition of the term and the underlying theoretical concept. Social psychology is working on both issues, identifying determinants of civil courage and developing respective trainings. Moreover, our discipline is already in a position to provide the necessary and methodologically sound evaluation of such trainings. This paper first outlines situational and societal backgrounds of civil courage. A definition as well as determinants and possible differentiation from helping behavior will be presented. The paper concludes with a discussion of civil courage trainings as well as possibilities for evaluation and implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-200
Number of pages16
JournalZeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • moral courage
  • helping behavior
  • intervention

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