Academic Dishonesty, Infidelity, and the Normalization of Unethical Behavior

Academic Dishonesty, Infidelity, and the Normalization of Unethical Behavior

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According to the work by McCabe (1999) academic dishonesty (e.g., cheating on a test) in educational institutions (e.g., high school, college) is considered a norm by some students. Furthermore, some students believe that it is up to adults (e.g., parents, teachers) to deal with the issue of academic dishonesty (pg. 685). These attitudes towards academic dishonesty are representative of one issue schools deal with in our society regarding students. Attitudes towards academic dishonesty do not just affect the classrooms they also translate to other areas of students’ lives. For instance, Estep and Olson (2011) found a positive correlation between attitudes towards academic dishonesty and attitudes towards infidelity (pg. 836). This finding suggests that if students approve of cheating on a test they are more likely to approve of cheating on a partner. However, Estep and Olson point out that it is easier for a person to cheat on a test than on a significant other because there is no guilt of hurting another person (pg. 837).
Hackathorn, A. Mattingly, Clark, and B. Mattingly (2011) used the Perceptions of Dating Infidelity Scale (PDIS) to measure attitudes towards behaviors outside a current monogamous relationship. Hackthron et al., were primarily interested in explicit (e.g., oral sex), deceptive (e.g., lies), and ambiguous (e.g., a hug) behaviors that might suggest infidelity (p. 300). Hackthron et al., found that one’s attitudes towards ambiguous and deceptive behaviors happening outside the current monogamous relationship can be related to one’s willingness to engage in infidelity. This finding suggests that if a person considers hugs or kisses cheating then that person is less likely to take part in those behaviors. According ...


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Estep, H. N., & Olson, J.N. (2011). Parenting Style, Academic Dishonesty, and Infidelity in College Students. College Student Journal, 45(4), 830-838. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from PsycINFO.
Hackathorn, J., Mattingly, B. A., Clark, E. M., & Mattingly, M. B. (2011). Practicing what you preach: Infidelity attitudes as a predictor of fidelity. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, 30, 299-311. doi:10.1007/s12144-011-9119-9
McCabe, D. (1999). Academic dishonesty among high school students. Adolescence, 34(136), 681-687. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from PsycINFO http://biblio.csusm.edu/find/database/redirect/1473
Vail-Smith, K., Whetstone, L., & Knox, D. (2010). The illusion of safety in “monogamous” undergraduate relationships. American Journal of Health Behavior, 34, 12-20. doi:10.5993/AJHB.34.1.2

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