This study analyzed the relations of two dimensions of moral cognition (i.e., acceptance of moral transgression and moral disengagement) and two forms of status in the peer group (i.e., social preference and perceived popularity) with bullying and defending among 235 primary-school children and 305 middle-school early adolescents. Social status was tested as a moderator of the associations between moral cognition and bullying and defending. Participants completed self-reports assessing the two dimensions of moral cognition and peer nominations for status, bullying and defending. Both acceptance of moral transgression and moral disengagement were associated to bullying among early adolescents only, whereas in childhood moral disengagement was linked to defending among girls. Social status moderated the associations between morality dimensions and bullying and defending. The moderating effects of status were discussed considering status as a magnifying lens for the relations between individual characteristics and social behavior. The results were also discussed with reference to age and gender differences in the associations.
Caravita, S. C. S., Gini, G., Pozzoli, T., Main and Moderated Effects of Moral Cognition and Status on Bullying and Defending, <<AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR>>, 2012; 38 (6): 456-468. [doi:10.1002/ab.21447] [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/56912]