The Role of Individual and Collective Moral Disengagement in Peer Aggression and Bystanding: A Multilevel Analysis

Gianluca Gini*, Tiziana Pozzoli, Kay Bussey

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    127 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study investigates the relationships between individual and collective moral disengagement and aggression-related behaviors (peer aggression, defending, and passive bystanding) among 918 adolescents (55.8 % boys; Mage = 14.1 years, SD = 1.1). Hierarchical linear modeling showed that, at the individual level, aggressive behavior was significantly explained by both individual moral disengagement and student perceived collective moral disengagement, which was also positively associated with defending. Student perceived collective moral disengagement moderated the link between individual moral disengagement and peer aggression. At the class level, classroom collective moral disengagement explained between-class variability in all the three aggression-related behaviors. These results extend previous research by demonstrating the role of collective moral disengagement at the individual and the class levels and have potential implications for interventions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)441-452
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
    Volume43
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

    Keywords

    • Peer aggression
    • Bullying
    • Defending
    • Bystanders
    • Moral disengagement
    • Class norms

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