Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ)

The Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) aims to classify individuals based on their ethical ideologies. The measure includes 2 subscales, with 10 items per subscale and a total of 20 items, and captures an individual's adherence to relativism and idealism.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included:

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


Idealism 1. A person should make certain that their actions never intentionally harm another even to a small degree.
2. Risks to another should never be tolerated, irrespective of how small the risks might be.
3. The existence of potential harm to others is always, irrespective of the benefits to be gained.
4. One should never psychologically or physically harm another person.
5. One should not perform an action which might in any way threaten the dignity and welfare of another individual.
6. If an action could harm an innocent other, then it should not be done.
7. Deciding whether or not to perform an act by balancing the positive consequences of the act against the negative consequences of the act is immoral.
8. The dignity and welfare of people should be the most important concern in any society.
9. It is never necessary to sacrifice the welfare of others.
10. Moral actions are those which closely math ideals of the most perfect action.

Relativism 11. There are no ethical principles that are so important that they should be a part of any code of ethics.
12. What is ethical varies from one situation and society to another.
13. Moral standards should be seen as being individualistic; what one person considers to be moral may be judged to be immoral by another person.
14. Different types of moralities cannot be compared as to "rightness."
15. Questions of what is ethical for everyone can never be resolved since what is moral or immoral is up to the individual.
16. Moral standards are simply personal rules which indicate how a person should behave, and are not applied in making judgements of others.
17. Ethical considerations in interpersonal relations are so complex that individuals should be allowed to formulate their own individual codes.
18. Rigidly codifying an ethical position that prevents certain types of actions could stand in the way of better human relations and adjustment.
19. No rule concerning lying can be formulated; whether a lie is permissible or not permissible totally depends upon the situation.
20. Whether a lie is judged to be moral or immoral depends upon the circumstances surrounding the action.

Response Options Completely Disagree - 1
Largely Disagree - 2
Moderately Disagree - 3
Slightly Disagree - 4
Neither Agree nor Disagree - 5
Slightly Agree - 6
Moderately Agree - 7
Largely Agree - 8
Completely Agree - 9

Scoring Procedures

Items are averaged to create a scale.

Original Citation

Forsyth, D. R. (1980). A taxonomy of ethical ideologies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(1), 175-184.

Psychometric Score

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Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


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