The effects of moral disengagement mechanisms on doping likelihood are mediated by guilt and moderated by moral traits

Journal article


Ring, C. and Hurst, P. 2018. The effects of moral disengagement mechanisms on doping likelihood are mediated by guilt and moderated by moral traits. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 40, pp. 33-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.09.001
AuthorsRing, C. and Hurst, P.
Abstract

Objectives
We examined the effects of moral disengagement on doping likelihood and guilt, and determined whether the effects of moral disengagement on doping likelihood were mediated by guilt and moderated by moral traits.

Design
We used an experimental design to compare the effects of moral disengagement mechanisms on doping likelihood and guilt in hypothetical situations.

Method
Athletes indicated their doping likelihood and anticipated guilt in situations describing one of six moral disengagement mechanisms (moral justification, advantageous comparison, euphemistic labeling, distortion of consequences, displacement of responsibility, diffusion of responsibility) and in neutral (control) situations. They also completed measures of moral agency, identity, perfectionism, and values, to which we refer collectively as moral traits.

Results
Doping likelihood was higher in all six moral disengagement situations compared to neutral situations. Anticipated guilt was lower in five moral disengagement situations (except euphemistic labeling) compared to neutral situations. Doping likelihood and anticipated guilt differed among the moral disengagement mechanisms. The effect of five moral disengagement mechanisms (except euphemistic labeling) on doping likelihood was mediated by anticipated guilt. The effect of overall moral disengagement on doping likelihood was moderated by moral agency, moral perfectionism and moral values.

Conclusions
Moral disengagement increased the likelihood of doping and decreased affective self-sanction for doping as predicted by the theory of moral thought and action. The finding that the effects of moral disengagement on doping likelihood were moderated by moral agency, moral perfectionism and moral values highlights the role played by moral traits to restrain dishonest conduct in sport.

Year2018
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Journal citation40, pp. 33-41
PublisherElsevier
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.09.001
Publication dates
Online11 Sep 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Sep 2018
Accepted03 Sep 2018
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
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