, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 487-502

College cheating: Ten years later

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In this 10-year follow-up study of student cheating, we surveyed 474 university students to (1) evaluate the extent of cheating; (2) assess attitudes toward cheating; (3) identify variables that discriminate between cheaters and noncheaters; (4) assess the relative effectiveness of various deterrents to cheating; and (5) examine changes in cheating attitudes and behaviors from 1984 to 1994. Most students (61.2%) reported cheating in 1994, up significantly from 54.1% in 1984 (Haines et al., 1986). Despite this increased cheating, students in 1994 were significantly less likely than in 1984 to neutralize (rationalize) their cheating. Ten variables that discriminated between cheaters and noncheaters in 1984 did so again in 1994, and 12 additional discriminating variables were identified. A principal components analysis of these 22 variables indicated that, compared to noncheaters, cheaters are (1) less mature; (2) less reactive to observed cheating; (3) less deterred by social stigma and guilt and more likely to neutralize cheating; (4) less personally invested in their education; and (5) more likely to be receiving scholarships, but doing less well in school. Both cheaters and noncheaters rated embarrassment and fear of punishment as the strongest deterrents to cheating; disapproval of one's friends was ranked as the least effective deterrent by both groups.