Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Psychology
Steven E. Landau
Objective: To examine the socio-cognitive attitudes of Right-wing authoritarianism and moral disengagement as they relate to bullying victimization and perpetration within the high school context. Method: Ninth grade students (N = 212; 50% male) at a public Midwest high school completed self-report measures during study hall assessing their levels of Right-wing authoritarianism, moral disengagement, and the frequency with which they were involved (i.e., as perpetrators and victims) in bullying both online and in person within the last month. The current study utilized a moderated mediation model to examine the effects of Right-wing authoritarian and morally disengaged attitudes on the school-based bullying ecology. Results: Self-reported bullying perpetration was highly correlated with the teen’s sense of victimization, indicating that students who admit to bullying others tend to feel victimized themselves. Further, the effect of Right-wing authoritarianism on bullying perpetration is partially explained by teen sense of aggrievement, and this indirect effect was most pronounced for those with a higher sense of moral disengagement. Conclusions: Findings emphasize that socio-cognitive attitudes such as Right-wing authoritarianism exist among adolescents and may influence their behavior, an important factor to consider when creating and implementing anti-bullying supports. Parents and educators alike should be concerned about the spread of hateful rhetoric on social media, and future research should examine teens’ individual differences in vulnerability to such harmful messages.
KEYWORDS: Right-wing authoritarianism, moral disengagement, bullying, victimization
Donnelly, Megan E., "Right-Wing Authoritarianism, Moral Disengagement, and Victimization: the Demeaning Socio-Cognitive Attitudes of Bullies" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 1330.