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Predicting Academic Cheating with Triarchic Psychopathy and Cheating Attitudes


Recent research has suggested that both the Honesty-Humility dimension, psychopathic traits and cheating attitudes are important predictors of academic dishonesty. The present study examined: a) the incremental role of triarchic psychopathic traits in academic cheating over the Honesty-Humility dimension; b) the incremental role of cheating attitudes over personality; c) the mediating role of cheating attitudes in the relationship between different psychopathic components and academic cheating. Two-hundred-and-ninty-seven students (59% female, 23 years on average) completed several questionnaires: the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure (TriPM), The HEXACO-PI-R Honesty-Humility scale, Attitudes Toward Cheating Scale, and the Academic Cheating Behaviours Scale. As expected, triarchic psychopathy added incremental variance in explaining academic cheating, after controlling for Honesty-Humility. Cheating attitudes explained additional 24% after controlling for personality traits. Meanness lead to more lenient attitudes toward cheating, which lead to more academic cheating behaviours. On the other hand, the effects of boldness and disinhibition were not mediated by attitudes towards cheating. Overall, the results suggest that the psychopathic traits display the effects on the academic cheating via several different mechanisms. The findings have both important theoretical and practical implications.

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  1. The correlation between the two forms of cheating was r = .69 (p < .001) and the correlations between the two cheating forms and the three components of psychopathy were all significant and ranged from .14 for boldness to .28 for meannes.


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Correspondence to Tajana Ljubin-Golub.

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Ljubin-Golub, T., Petričević, E. & Sokić, K. Predicting Academic Cheating with Triarchic Psychopathy and Cheating Attitudes. J Acad Ethics 18, 377–393 (2020).

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  • Personality
  • Triarchic psychopathy
  • Cheating attitudes
  • Academic dishonesty