The role of moral disengagement and self-efficacy in cyberbullying

Kay Bussey*, Sally Fitzpatrick, Amrutha Raman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the association between moral disengagement and cyberbullying using a measure of moral disengagement tailored to cyberbullying. It also examines adolescents’ self-beliefs in their competence to engage in cyberbullying (cyberbullying self-efficacy beliefs) and how these beliefs may moderate the relation between moral disengagement and cyberbullying. Participants were 942 mainly White (83.5%) boys and girls from Grades 7 to 9 (Mage = 13.2 years, range = 11–15 years). Results revealed that when students believed firmly in their cyberbullying capabilities, high levels of self-reported cyberbullying were associated with greater moral disengagement proneness even when controlling for knowledge of cyberbullying moral standards. These results suggest that reducing cyberbullying will involve more than policies that sanction such behavior. Factors that reduce the use of moral disengagement processes, particularly among those students who believe in their cyberbullying capabilities, need to be promoted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-46
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of School Violence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015


  • cyberbullying
  • moral disengagement
  • self-efficacy beliefs


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