Good and evil at school: Bullying and moral evaluation in early adolescence

Journal of Moral Education 43 (1):18-31 (2014)

Abstract

We investigated how adolescents morally evaluated hypothetical bullying and defending protagonists and whether these evaluations related to behavior in bullying as nominated by peers. Exploratory factor analysis resulted in four factors for the evaluation of the hypothetical bullies: Evil soul, Contempt, Cowardice, and Deviance, and five factors for the evaluation of the hypothetical defender: General admiration, Courage, Cool, Empathic care, and Fair justice. Corresponding scales were constructed. The findings showed that bullying positively correlated with evaluating the hypothetical bullies using Cowardice while victimization positively correlated with evaluating the hypothetical defender in terms of General admiration, Empathic care, and Fair justice. MANOVA for each of the two sets of the evaluative scales indicated that behavioral status had a significant effect on the moral evaluation of hypothetical bullies, and no significant effect on the moral evaluation of the hypothetical defender.

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