Construction of Moral Disengagement Scale for Adults: A Reliable Measure


  • Ayesha Saif University of Gujrat
  • Saima Riaz University of Gujrat


Development, moral disengagement scale, adults, reliability, validity


The main objective of current research was development of an indigenous Moral Disengagement Scale for Adults (MDS-A) in Urdu language. The subsequent objective was the establishment of reliability of newly developed Scale. Initially an item pool of 116 items was formulated based on Bandura’s model (2002) which was reduced to 106 items and later 92 items after expert’s evaluation and item analysis, respectively. Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was conducted on 92 items scale by administering it on 579 adults (250 men and 329 women), age range of 19-83 years from villages and various educational institutes of district Gujrat, Pakistan. EFA by using Principal Component Analysis with Varimax Orthogonal Rotation resulted in six factor solution of 63 items. Later Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) confirmed the six-factor structure on an independent sample of 413 adults (193 men and 220 women) with age range 19-80 years from Gujrat district, Pakistan. After deletion of 43 items, CFA yielded good model fit indices for final 20 items MDS-A. MDS-A had very satisfactory Cronbach’s alpha reliability and test-retest reliability. MDS-A also demonstrated construct validity in terms of highly significant item-total correlations and subscale-to-scale total correlations. Overall, a reliable and valid scale for measurement of moral disengagement among adults in Pakistani culture is available for further indigenous research and counselling settings.


Aguinis, H., Gottfredson, R. K., & Joo, H. (2013). Best-practice recommendations for defining, identifying, and handling outliers. Organizational Research Methods, 16, 270-301. doi:10.1177/10944281 12470848

All, C., Mahdi, C. G., & Isaksson, V. (2013). The effects of charismatic clients on auditors objectivity (Unpublished master’s thesis). Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Bandura, A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of self-regulation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 248-287. doi:10.1016/0749-5978(91)90022-L.

Bandura, A. (1999). Moral disengagement in the perpetration of inhumanities. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 3(3), 193-209. doi:10.1207/s15327957pspr0303_3

Bandura, A. (2002). Selective moral disengagement in the exercise of moral agency. Journal of Moral Education, 31(2), 1-19. doi:10.1080/03057240 22014322.

Bandura, A. (2016). Moral disengagement: How people do harm and live with themselves (1st ed.). New York, USA: Worth publishers.

Bandura, A., Barbaranelli, C., Caprara, G. V., & Pastorelli, C. (1996). Mechanisms of moral disengagement in the exercise of moral agency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71(2), 364-374. doi:10.103 7/0022-3514.71.2.364.

Bandura, A., Caprara, G. V., Barbaranelli, C., Pastorelli, C., & Regalia, C. (2001). Socio-cognitive self regulatory mechanisms governing transgressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80(1), 125-135.

Beu, D. S., & Buckley, M. R. (2004). This is war: How the politically astute achieve crimes of obedience through the use of moral disengagement. The Leadership Quarterly, 15(4), 551-568. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2004.05.007

Boardley, I. D., & Kavussanu, M. (2008). The moral disengagement in sport scale–short. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26(14), 1507-1517. doi:10.1080/ 02640410802315054.

Boateng, G. O., Neilands, T. B., Frongillo, E. A., Melgar-Quiñonez, H. R., & Young, S. L. (2018). Best Practices for Developing and Validating Scales for Health, Social, and Behavioral Research: A Primer. Frontiers in Public Health, 6, 1-18. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2018.00149

Caravita, S. C., Sijtsema, J. J., Rambaran, J. A., & Gini, G. (2014). Peer influences on moral disengagement in late childhood and early adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(2), 193-207.

Caroli, M. E. D., & Sagone, E. (2014). Mechanisms of moral disengagement: An analysis from early adolescence to youth. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1(40) 312-317. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.04.426.

Christian, J. S., & Ellis, A. P. J. (2013). The crucial role of turnover intentions in transforming moral disengagement into deviant behavior at work. Journal of Business Ethics, 119(2), 193-208. doi:10.1007/s10551-013-1631-4

Costello, A. B., & Osborne, J. W. (2005). Best practices in exploratory factor analysis: Four recommendation for getting the most from your analysis. Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation, 10(7), 1-9.

De Caroli, M. E., & Sagone, E. (2014). Belief in a just world, prosocial behavior, and moral disengagement in adolescence. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 116, 596-600. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.263

Detert, J. R., Treviño, L. K., & Sweitzer, V. L. (2008). Moral disengagement in ethical decision making: A study of antecedents and outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(2), 374-391. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.93.2.374.

DeVellis, R. F. (2017). Scale development: Theory and applications (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Dimitrov, D. M. (2012). Statistical methods for validation of assessment scale data in counseling and related fields. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

Gaur, A. S., & Gaur, S. S. (2009). Statistical methods for practice and research: A guide to data analysis using SPSS (2nd ed.) New Delhi, India: SAGE Publications Inc.

George, D., & Mallery, P. (2016). IBM SPSS Statistics 23 step by step: A simple guide and reference (13th ed.). New York: Routledge.

Ghasemi, A., & Zahediasl, S. (2012). Normality tests for statistical analysis: A guide for non-statisticians. International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 10(2), 486-489. doi:10.5812/ijem.3505

Gini, G., Pozzoli, T., & Bussey, K. (2014). Collective moral disengagement: Initial validation of a scale for adolescents. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 11, 386-395. doi:10.1080/17405629.2013.85 1024.

Gini, G., Pozzoli, T., & Hymel, S. (2013). Moral disengagement among children and youth: A meta-analytic review of links to aggressive behavior. Aggressive Behavior, 40(1), 56-68. doi:10.1002/ab.21502

Habib, S., Saleem, S., & Mahmood, Z. (2013). Development and validation of social intelligence scale for university students. Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research, 28(1), 65-83.

Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., & Anderson, R. E. (2013). Multivariant data analysis: A global perspective. (7th ed.). India: Dorling Kindersley.

Hinkle, D. E., Wiersma, W., & Jurs, S. G. (2003). Applied statistics for the behavioral sciences (5th ed.). Boston, Mass: Houghton Mifflin.

Hoe, L. S. (2008). Issues and procedures in adopting structural equation modeling technique. Journal of Applied Quantitative Methods, 3(1), 76-83. Retrieved from,issue-1/pdfs/ jaqm_vol3_issue1.pdf#page=81

Hooper, D., Coughlan, J., & Mullen, M. (2008). Structural equation modelling: Guidelines for determining model fit. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 6(1), 53-60.

Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1998). Fit indices in covariance structure modeling: Sensitivity to under parameterized model misspecification. Psychological Methods, 3, 424-453. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.3.4.424

Jackson, L. E., & Sparr, J. L. (2005). Introducing a new scale for the measurement of moral disengagement in peace and conflict. Research Conflict & Communication Online, 4(2). Retrieved from http://www.cco.

Kavussanu, M., & Boardley, I. D. (2009). The prosocial and antisocial behavior in sport scale. Journal of sport and exercise psychology, 31(1), 97-117. doi:10.1037/t33475-000

Kline, R. B. (2015). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (4th ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Lama, P. (2016). Raising them right: Role of adults in shaping youth. The Druk Journal, 2(2). Retrieved from:

Moore, P. C. (2015). Moral disengagement. Current Opinion in Psychology, 6, 199-204. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.07.018.

Moore, C., Detert, J. R., Trevino, L. K., Baker, V. L., & Mayer, D. M. (2012). Why employees do bad things: Moral disengagement and unethical organizational behavior. Personnel Psychology, 65(1), 1-48. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.2011.01237.x

Morgado, F. F. R., Meireles, J. F. F., Neves, C. M., Amaral, A. C. S., & Ferreira, M. E. C. (2018). Scale development: Ten main limitations and recommendations to improve future research practices. Psicologia: Reflex E Crítica, 30(1), 1-20. doi:10.1186/s41155 -016-0057-1

Osofsky, M. J., Bandura, A., & Zimbardo, P. G. (2005). The role of moral disengagement in the execution process. Law and Human Behavior, 29(4), 371-393. doi:10.1007/s109 79-005-4930-1

Ozen, H., & Turan, S. (2017). Scale development and initial tests of the multidimensional complex adaptive leadership scale for school principals?: An exploratory mixed method study. European Journal of Education Studies, 3(2), 37-74. doi:10.5281/zenodo.1098030

Paciello, M., Fida, R., Tramontano, C., Lupinetti, C., & Caprara, G. V. (2008). Stability and change of moral disengagement and its impact on aggression and violence in late adolescence. Child Development, 79(5), 1288-1309. doi:10.1111/j.14678624.2008.01189.x

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (2017, July 16). Population by selective age groups. Retrieved from population-5-year-age-group-pakistan

Pallant, J. (2013). SPSS survival manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using IBM SPSS (5th ed.). Berkshire, England: McGraw Hill.

Pan, M., & Hsu, W. (2017) Measuring students’ moral disengagement in physical education. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Polit, D. F. (2010). Statistics and Data Analysis for Nursing Research (2nd ed.). Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Raykov, T., & Marcoulides, G. A. (2011). Introduction to Psychometric Theory. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Reise, S. P., Waller, N. G., & Comrey, A. L. (2000). Factor analysis and scale revision. Psychological Assessment, 12(3), 287-297. doi:10.1037/ 1040-3590.12.3.287

Riaz, S., & Bano, Z. (2018). Development and psychometric properties of moral disengagement scale for adolescents. Pakistan Journal of Psychology, 49(1), 3-22.

Raykov, T., & Marcoulides, G.A. (2011).Introduction to Psychometric theory. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Rovai, A. P., Bakar, J. D., & Ponton, M. K. (2013). Social science research design and statistics: A practitioner’s guide to research methods and IBM SPSS Analysis. 11.0 update (2nd ed.).Virginia Beach, VA: Watertree Press.

Saba, S., Azam, R., & Suzanne, R. (2019). Interaction of moral identity centrality and moral disengagement of individuals at workplace. Journal of Managerial Sciences, 13(2), 234-252.

Sekaran, U. 2010. Research methods for business: A skill building approach (5th ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.

Singh, K., Junnarkar, M., & Kaur, J. (2016). Norms for test construction. In K. Singh, M. Junnarkar, & J. Kaur (Eds.), Measures of positive psychology: Development and validation (pp. 13-74). New York, NY: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-81-322-3631-3_2

Shahid, B., & Ahmad, I. (2016). The impact of organizational learning on organizational corruption and the deviant workplace behavior: The case study of public sector organizations in Pakistan. NUML International Journal of Business & Management, 11(2), 50-67.

Streiner, D. L., Norman, G. R., & Cairney, J. (2015). Health measurement scales: A practical guide to their development and use (5th ed.). UK: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/med/9780199685219.001.000 1

Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013). Using multivariate statistics (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Thornberg, R., & Jungert, T. (2014). School bullying and the mechanisms of moral disengagement. Aggressive Behavior, 40(2), 99-108. doi:10.1002/ ab.21509

Watkins, M. W. (2018). Exploratory factor analysis: A guide to best practice. Journal of Black Psychology, 44(3), 219-246. doi:10.1177/0095798418 771807

World demographic profile (2019, April 20). Retrieved from

Yong, A. G., & Pearce, S. (2013). A beginner’s guide to factor analysis: Focusing on exploratory factor analysis. Tutorials in Quantitative Methods for Psychology, 9(2), 79-94. doi:10.20982/tqmp.09.2.p079

Zhao, N. (2009). The minimum sample size in factor analysis. Retrieved from,*nzhao/The+Minimum+Sampl e+ Size+in+Factor+Analysis