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Can engagement in academic dishonesty be described as planned behaviour or lack of self-control?

Marcus Henning, Phillipa Malpas, Sanya Ram, Iain Doherty, Fiona Kelly, Susan J. Hawken

Abstract

Background: Students‟ engagement in dishonest behaviours is problematic and may influence future professional practice. Aims: To consider the antecedents predicting engagement in academic dishonesty.
Methods: A total of 433 pharmacy and medical students participated in a survey measuring engagement in academic dishonesty, self deception, justification, and acceptability. Hierarchical linear regression and path analysis methods were conducted.
Results: Engagement in academic dishonesty was predicted by later years of study, justification, responses to a case scenario and notions of acceptability (R2 = 34%). An appropriately fitted path model showed that each explanatory variable correlated with engagement in academic dishonesty separately rather than being mediated by notions of acceptability.
Conclusion: It is likely that students are establishing different ethical frames of references when engaging in dishonest behaviours such as rational self-interest or Machiavellianism. The prevention of academic dishonesty and its intervention needs to consider individualised, group-based and institutional processes.


Keywords

Planned behavior, excuses, attitude, self-control, pharmacy and medical education, academic dishonesty


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