Research in Higher Education

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 293-313

First online:

Situational and Personal Causes of Student Cheating

  • David A. RettingerAffiliated withPsychology Department, University of Mary Washington Email author 
  • , Yair KramerAffiliated withYeshiva College, Yeshiva University

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The causes of students’ academic dishonesty behavior were explored using survey and experimental vignette methods. Participants were surveyed about their own cheating behavior, neutralizing attitudes, performance/mastery orientation and perceptions of peer attitudes and behavior. As predicted, neutralizing attitudes influenced cheating behavior directly, but also indirectly, increasing the effect of individual attitudes. Observing others cheating was strongly correlated with one’s own cheating behavior. These variables are also shown to have different effects on exam cheating and plagiarism and cases of giving and receiving unauthorized information. Correlations were tested using experimental vignette methods, which supported the claims made from survey data.


Academic integrity Student cheating Neutralizing attitudes Vignette experiment Higher education