ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (7): 1092-1102.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.01092

• Meta-Analysis • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship between Moral Disengagement and Aggressive Behavior

WANG Xingchao;YANG Jiping;YANG Li   

  1. (1 Business College of Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030031, China) (2 School of Educational Science, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China) (3 Center for Studies of Psychological Application, School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China)
  • Received:2013-12-04 Online:2014-07-15 Published:2014-07-15
  • Contact: YANG Jiping


A growing body of research has demonstrated consistent links between moral disengagement and aggressive behavior. Meta-analytic procedures were used to test the effects of moral disengagement on aggressive behavior. The studies were searched from 1996 to 2013, which were written in Chinese and English. A total of 41 relevant studies met the criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. All studies included 44 independent samples and 24536 participants. Pearson’s r was used as the effect size metric. The Comprehensive Meta-Analysis (CMA) Version 2 program was used to analyze the data. Moderator analyses were also conducted. The meta-analytic findings indicated a positive overall effect (r = 0.35, 95% CI [0.30, 0.39]), supporting the hypothesis that moral disengagement is a significant correlate of aggressive behavior. Furthermore, the results of the moderator analyses indicated that cultural differences, data features, the moral disengagement measure used, type of aggression, and age grades all moderated the positive relationship between moral disengagement and aggressive behavior. In addition, the correlation between moral disengagement and aggressive behavior was larger in Chinese culture as compared to western culture. Finally, implications for aggression are suggested.

Key words: moral disengagement, aggressive behavior, meta-analysis, moderator