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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2012, Vol. 44 Issue (8) : 1075-1085     DOI:
Effect of Moral Disengagement on Adolescents’ Aggressive Behavior: Moderated Mediating Effect
YANG Ji-Ping;WANG Xing-Chao
(1 School of Educational Science, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China)
(2 Business College of Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030031, China)
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Abstract  Moral disengagement is an individual predisposition to evoke cognitions that allow individuals to restructure their actions to appear less harmful, minimize their role in the outcomes of their actions, or attenuate the distress that they cause to others. Adolescents with high levels of moral disengagement may tend to report more aggressive behavior. However, most researches about adolescents’ moral disengagement are conducted in Western countries, and we have limited knowledge about the moral disengagement of Chinese counterparts. So this study is aimed to investigate the effects of interparental conflict, moral disengagement, and moral judgment on adolescents’ aggressive behavior in contemporary China. The Children’s Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale, Moral Disengagement Scale, Moral Reasoning about Aggression Scale and Aggression Questionnaire were administered to 756 adolescents (332 boys and 424 girls) from junior and senior high schools in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, using Structural Equation Model Analysis.
The results show that: (1) The boys got significantly higher scores than girls did in moral disengagement scale (t=5.11, p<0.001). (2) Adolescents in different ages showed significantly different moral disengagement, and this difference was most apparent in 15 and 19 age groups. (3) Adolescent’ performance in Interparental conflict scale could predict their aggressive behavior (g=0.27, p<0.001), and moral disengagement could partially mediate the relationship between interparental conflict and aggressive behavior. This result indicates that parents’ conflicts could affect adolescents’ aggressive behavior by influencing moral disengagement. However, the mediating effect of moral disengagement was moderated by moral judgment. That is to say moral disengagement, as a moderated mediator, had an effect on adolescents’ aggressive behavior.
The present study enriched the theory of moral disengagement by confirming the moderating role of moral judgment in the relationship between moral disengagement and aggressive behavior. It was suggested that we could decrease the adolescents’ aggressive behavior by reducing their interparental conflict, reducing their moral disengagement, and improving their moral judgment.
Keywords adolescent      interparental conflict      moral disengagement      moral judgment      aggressive behavior     
Corresponding Authors: YANG Ji-Ping   
Issue Date: 28 August 2012
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YANG Ji-Ping,WANG Xing-Chao. Effect of Moral Disengagement on Adolescents’ Aggressive Behavior: Moderated Mediating Effect[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2012, 44(8): 1075-1085.
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