Moral disengagement: mediator between moral perfectionism and Machiavellian behavior among undergraduates?

Abbas Abdollahi, Fatemeh Hashemi, Hamid Rezaeian Faraji, Simin Hosseinian, Kelly A. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

To better understand Machiavellian behavior among undergraduate students, the current study examines moral disengagement as a mediator in the relationship between Machiavellian behavior and two dimensions of moral perfectionism (concern over moral mistakes perfectionism and personal moral standards perfectionism). Participants were 210 undergraduate students (64% female) from three universities in Tehran, Iran, aged between 18 and 27 years old. Structural equation modeling revealed that Machiavellian behavior was negatively associated with personal moral standards perfectionism and positively associated with moral disengagement. The results of the structural model showed a non-significant relationship between concern over moral mistakes perfectionism and Machiavellian behavior. However, multi-model analysis provided evidence that moral disengagement partially mediated the relationship between personal moral standards perfectionism and Machiavellian behavior. The findings also showed that there was a relationship between concern over moral mistakes perfectionism and Machiavellian behavior through moral disengagement. The results suggest that while moral perfectionism is often accompanied with moral disengagement, Machiavellian behavior may be an explanation for individuals with these traits.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Reports
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Machiavellian behavior
  • moral disengagement
  • Moral perfectionism
  • undergraduate

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