Moral disengagement and children’s propensity to tell coached lies

Frances Lee Doyle*, Kay Bussey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between children’s proneness to endorse moral disengagement mechanisms and their anticipated antisocial lie telling. Participants were 107 predominantly white Australian children in Grade 1 (27 boys, 27 girls; Mage = 6.69 years) and Grade 4 (24 boys, 29 girls; Mage = 9.69 years). Children completed a lie-telling moral disengagement scale and two vignettes. In the first vignette, a child character witnessed a transgression and was coached to say that they did not see the transgression occur (lie type: false denial). In the second vignette, a child character did not witness a transgression and was coached to say that they saw a transgression (lie type: false allegation). In accordance with social cognitive theory predictions, greater proneness to using moral disengagement mechanisms was associated with children’s anticipated lie telling for both false allegations and false denials. These findings highlight the important role of moral disengagement in children’s lie telling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-103
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Moral Education
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • child development
  • lie-telling
  • lying
  • moral disengagement
  • social cognitive theory

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