The impact of moral judgment and moral disengagement on hazing attitudes and bystander behavior in college males

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University of Alabama Libraries

Over half of students involved in collegiate clubs and organizations report that they have participated in hazing activities (Allan & Madden, 2008). Prior research has shown a link between moral development and the perpetration of various anti-social behaviors, including sexual assault (Carroll, 2009), bullying among adolescents (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara & Pastorellie, 1996) and cheating and academic dishonesty among college students (Cummings, Dyas, Maddux & Kochman, 2001). To date, no studies have examined the relationships between hazing, moral judgment and moral disengagement. This study supplemented the existing explanations for hazing by hypothesizing and testing a model in which moral judgment and moral disengagement influenced hazing-supportive attitudes and willingness to intervene as a bystander in a hazing situation. Comparisons were made between fraternity members and non-members. The Defining Issues Test-2, the Moral Disengagement Scale, and a pair of hazing and bullying vignettes were administered to undergraduate college students from four large research institutions in the Southeastern United States. The sample included both fraternity members (N=75) and non-members (N=125). The results indicated significant differences between fraternity members and non-members on measures of moral disengagement (t (198) = 2.22, p<.05, d = .32), moral judgment as measured by the N-2 score (t (198) = -2.10, p<.05, d = -.31), hazing-supportive attitude (t (198) = -2.73, p<.05, d = .37), and willingness to intervene as a bystander in a hazing scenario (t (198) = 2.06, p<.05, d = .30). Path analysis indicated a significant path for fraternity members between moral judgment, moral disengagement, and willingness to intervene as a bystander in a fraternity-hazing scenario compared to willingness to intervene in a bullying scenario. A test of difference in independent R2 indicated differences in the paths between fraternity members and non-members. The relationship between the constructs indicates that moral development may be a valuable tool in hazing prevention, and indicates that further research in this area is needed.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Higher education administration