Giammusso, Zuraikat, and Vogel (2015). Attitudes Toward Cheating: The Relationship with Academic Entitlement
The above research will be presented in poster format at the 2015 conference of the Eastern Psychological Association in March.
Many studies have found high rates of cheating among college students (e.g. Stern & Havelicek, 1986; Davis, Grover, Becker, & McGregor, 1992; McCabe & Bowers, 1994; Vandehey, Diekhoff, & LaBeff, 2007) and the ubiquitous nature of the internet in today’s society makes cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty even more salient than in previous generations (Ma, Wan, & Lu, 2008). The current study sought to investigate academic dishonesty by focusing on a specific personality trait, Academic Entitlement (AE), and attitudes toward cheating. One commonly used definition of AE is “the tendency to possess an expectation of academic success without taking personal responsibility for achieving that success” (Chowning & Campbell, 2009, p. 982). Research supports a moderate relationship between academic entitlement (AE) and narcissism (Greenberger et al., 2008; Chowning & Campbell, 2009) and prior research has also found significant relationships between narcissism and academic dishonesty (Williams, Nathanson, & Paulus, 2010; Brunell, Staats, Barden & Hupp, 2011). These findings would suggest a positive correlation between AE and cheating behaviors.
Correlational analyses revealed significant correlations between level of AE and positive attitudes towards cheating in all areas of cheating measured: test, homework and report/paper writing. This indicates that higher levels of AE were related to having more ‘permissive’ or positive views of what defines cheating which supports the hypothesis.
The correlational findings of the current study lend support to the previous literature regarding narcissism and academic dishonesty. Narcissism, by its very nature, would suggest that those high in narcissism would think themselves ‘special’ in some way and view their own personal cheating behavior as less egregious. Since AE and narcissism are related, it would only make sense that those higher in AE would have a more positive or permissive view of cheating behaviors overall as was found. Unfortunately, the current study did not ask participants to distinguish their attitudes toward their own, versus others’, cheating.