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Aggress Behav. 2012 Sep-Oct;38(5):378-88. doi: 10.1002/ab.21442. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Individual and class moral disengagement in bullying among elementary school children.

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Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, University of Padua, Padova, Italy.


A cross-sectional study from a sample of 663 elementary school children assessed the four sets of moral disengagement mechanisms conceptualized by Bandura (i.e., cognitive restructuring, minimizing one's agentive role, disregarding/distorting the consequences, blaming/dehumanizing the victim) at both the individual and the class level. Additionally, an analysis of the relations of these mechanisms to pro-bullying behavior was conducted. Multilevel analysis showed a significant relationship between cognitive restructuring and individual pro-bullying behavior. Moreover, between-class variability of pro-bullying behavior was positively related to minimizing one's agentive role and blaming/dehumanizing the victim at the class level. Conversely, class disregarding/distorting the consequences was negatively associated with between-class variation in the outcome behavior. Implications for understanding the role of morality in children's bullying are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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