How to Cite
García Vázquez, F. I., Valdés Cuervo, A. A. ., Carlos Martínez, E. A., & Alcántar Nieblas, C. (2019). Psychometric properties of a scale measuring moral disengagement in mexican children. Acta Colombiana De Psicología, 22(1), 107–128.

 Authors who publish in this journal agree to the following terms:

 Acta Colombiana de Psicología complies with international intellectual property and copyright laws, and particularly with Article No. 58 of the Political Constitution of Colombia, Law No. 23 of 1982, and the Agreement No. 172 of September 30, 2010 (Universidad Católica de Colombia Intellectual Property Regulation).

 Authors retain their copyright and grant to the Acta Colombiana de Psicología the right of first publication, with the work registered under Creative Commons attribution license, which allows third parties to use the published material, provided they credit the authorship of the work and the first publication in this Journal.


Moral disengagement has negative effects for psychosocial development in childhood, which makes it necessary to have scales to evaluate it. The present study aimed to analyze the psychometric properties of the Moral Disengagement Scale for Children in Bullying Situations (DMAE, for its Spanish acronym) scale. 661 Mexican students participated from 5th grade (51%) and 6th grade (49%), 48% girls (M age = 10.51, SD = .64 years) and 52% boys (M age = 10.59, SD = .68 years). The validity (internal and concurrent), measurement invariance for both sexes and reliability of the scale were analyzed. From the results of the confirmatory factor analysis, it was inferred that the multidimensional measurement model that measures moral justification, diffusion of responsibility and attribution of blame presents a better fit to the data than the one-dimensional one. It was also found that the DMAE presents measurement invariance in both sexes and evidence of concurrent validity. It was concluded that the scale has adequate psychometric properties for the measurement of moral disengagement in Mexican children.



Almeida, A., Correia, L., & Marinho, S. (2010). Moral disengagement, normative beliefs or peer group, and attitudes regarding roles in bullying. Journal of School Violence, 9, 23-36. doi:10.1080/15388220903185639

Aly, A., Taylor, E., & Karnovsky, S. (2014). Moral disengagement and building resilience to violent extremism: An education intervention. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 37, 369-385. doi:10.1080/1057610X.2014.879379

Arseneault, L., Walsh, E., Trzesniewski, K., Newcombe, R., Caspi, A., & Moffitt, T. E. (2006). Bullying victimization uniquely contributes to adjustment problems in young children: A nationally representative cohort study. Pediatrics, 118, 130-138.

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

Bandura, A. (1990). Selective activation and disengagement of moral control. Journal of Social Issues, 46, 27-46. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00270.x

Bandura A. (1999). Moral disengagement in the perpetuation of inhumanities. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 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, 101-119. doi:10.1080/0305724022014322

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, 364-374. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.71.2.364

Bandura, A., Underwood, B., & Fromson, M. E. (1975). Disinhibition of aggression through diffusion of responsibility and dehumanization of victims. Journal of Research in Personality, 9, 253-269. doi:10.1016/0092-6566(75)90001-X

Barriga, A. Q., Sullivan-Cosetti, M., & Gibbs, J. C. (2009). Moral cognitive correlates of empathy in juvenile delinquents. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 19, 253-264. doi:10.1002/cbm.740

Blunch, N. (2013). Introduction to structural equation modeling using IBM SPSS Statistics and Amos. Londres, UK: SAGE.

Boardley, I., & Kavusannu, M. (2007). Development and validation of the Moral Disengagement in Sport Scale. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 29(5), 608?628. doi:10.1123/jsep.29.5.608

Bussey, K., Quinn, C., & Dobson, J. (2015). The moderating role of empathic concern and perspective taking on the relationship between moral disengagement and aggression. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Journal of Developmental Psychology, 61, 10-29. doi:10.1353/mpq.2015.0004

Byrne, B. (2010). Structural equation modeling with AMOS (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Camodeca, M., & Taraschi, E. (2015). Like father, like son? The link between parents' moral disengagement and children's externalizing behaviors. Merril-Palmer Quarterly, 61, 173-191.

Campaert, K., Nocentini, A., & Menesini, E. (2014). The efficacy of teachers' responses to incidents of bullying and victimization: The mediational role of moral disengagement for bullying. Aggressive Behavior, 43, 483-492. doi:10.1002/ab.21706.

Capan, B. E., & Bakioglu, F. (2016). Adaptation of Collective Moral Disengagement Scale into Turkish culture for adolescents. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 4, 1452-1457. doi:10.13189/ujer.2016.040624

Caravita, S. L., Sijtsema, J. J., Rambaran, J. A., & Gini, G. (2014). Peer influences on moral disengagement in late childhood and early adolescence. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 43, 193-207. doi: 10.1007/s10964-013-9953-1

Carrera-Fernández, M. V., Cid-Fernández, X. M., Almeida, A., González-Fernández, A., & Lameiras-Fernández, M. (2018). Attitudes toward cultural diversity in Spanish and Portuguese adolescent of secondary education: The influence of heteronormativity and moral disengagement in school bullying. Revista de Psicodidáctica, 23, 17-25.

Craig, W., Harel-Fisch, Y., Fogel-Grinvald, H., Dostaler, S., Hetland, J., Simons-Morton, B., Molcho, M. (2009). A cross-national profile of bullying and victimization among adolescent in 40 countries. International Journal of Public Health, 54, 216-224.

De Caroli, M., & 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

De Graaff, M. C., Schut, M., Verweij, D. E., Vermetten, E., & Giebels, E. (2016). Emotional reactions and moral judgment: The effects of morally challenging interactions in military operations. Ethics & Behavior, 26, 14-31. doi:10.1080/10508422.2014.975815

Dunn, T., Baguley, T., & Brunsden, V. (2014). From Alfa to Omega: A practical solution to the pervasive problem of internal consistency estimation. British Journal of Psychology, 104, 399-412. doi:10.1111/bjop.2046

Eisenberg, N. (2000). Emotion, regulation, and moral development. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 665. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.665

Gibbs, J. (2014). Moral development & reality (3rd ed.). USA: Oxford University Press.

Echavarría, C. V., & Vasco, E. (2006). Justificaciones morales de lo bueno y lo malo en un grupo de niñas y niños provenientes de contextos violentos y no violentos de una ciudad Andina de Colombia (Moral justifications of the good and the bad in a group of girls and boys from violent and nonviolent contexts of an Andean city of Colombia). Acta Colombiana de Psicología, 9(1), 51-62.

Eljach, S. (2011). Violencia escolar en América Latina y el Caribe: Superficie y fondo (School violence in Latin America and the Caribbean: Area and fund). Panamá: UNICEF.

Espegale, D. L., Hong, J. S., Rao, M. A., & Low, S. (2012). Associations between peer victimization and academic performance. Theory into Practice, 52, 233-240.

Feldman, M. A., Ojanen, T., Gesten, E. L., Smith-Schrandt, H., Brannick, M., Wienke, C. M., Alexander, L. (2014). The effects of middle school bullying and victimization on adjustment through high school: growth modeling of achievement. School attendance, and disciplinary trajectories. Psychology in the School, 51, 1046-1062.

Garaigordobil, M., & Machimbarrena, J. M. (2017). Stress, competence, and parental educational styles in victims and aggressors of bullying and cyberbullying. Psicothema, 29, 335-340.

Gasser, L., Gutzwiller-Helfenfinger, E., Latzko, B., & Malti, T. (2013). Moral emotion attributions and moral motivation. In K. Heinrich, F. Oser, & T. Lovat (Eds.), Handbook of moral motivation (pp. 307-322). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Gibbs, J. (2014). Moral development & reality (3rd ed.). USA: Oxford University Press.

Gini, G., Pozzoli, T., & Bussey, K. (2015). The role of individual and collective moral disengagement in peers aggression and bystanding: a multilevel analysis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43, 441-452. doi:10.1007/s10802-014-9920-7

Gini, G., Pozzoli, T., & Hymel, S. (2014). Moral disengagement among children and youth: A meta-analytic review of links to aggressive behavior. Aggressive Behavior, 40, 56-68. doi:10.1002/ab.21502

Graham, S. (2016). Victims of bullying in schools. Theory into Practice, 55, 136-144. doi: 10.1080/00405841.2016.1148988

Greenhalgh, E. M., Watt, S. E., & Schutte, N. S. (2015). Mechanisms of moral disengagement in the endorsement of asylum seeker policies in Australia. Ethics & Behavior, 25, 482-499. doi:10.1080/10508422.2014.951720

Higuita-Gutiérrez, L. F., & Cardona-Arias, A. (2017). Variables of the family, school, and social environment context that determine bullying in adolescents in Medellin, Colombia, 2014. Journal of School Violence, 16, 1-19.

Houwing, F., & Bussey, K. (2017). Moral disengagement and the propensity to endorse physical punishment practices. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 26, 1206-1218. doi: 10.1007/s10826-016-0643-y

Hymel, S., & Bonanno, R. A. (2014). Moral disengagement processes in bullying. Theory into Practice, 53, 278-285.

Kline, R. B. (2016). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (4th ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Kokkinos, C. M., Voulgaridou, I., Mandrali, M., & Parousidou, C. (2016). Interactive links between relational aggression, theory of mind, and moral disengagement among early adolescents. Psychology in the Schools, 53, 253-269. doi:10.1002/pits.219 02

Levasseur, C., Desbiens, N., & Bowen, F. (2017). Moral reasoning about school bullying in involved adolescent. Journal of Moral Education, 46, 158-176. doi:10.1080/030 57240.2016.1268113

Malti, T., Gasser, L., & Buchmann, M. (2009). Aggressive and prosocial children´s emotion attributions and moral reasoning. Aggressive Behavior, 35, 90-102.

Malti, T., & Ongley, S. F. (2014). The development of moral emotions and moral reasoning. In M. Killen, & J. G. Smetana (Eds.), Handbook of moral development (2nd ed., pp. 163-183). New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Mendoza, B., Rojas, C., & Barrera, A. (2017). Rol de participación en bullying y su relación con la ansiedad (Role of participation in bullying and its relationship with anxiety). Perfiles Educativos, XXXIX(158), 38-51.

Menesini, E., Palladino, B. E., & Nocentini, A. (2015). Emotions of moral disengagement, class norms, and bullying in adolescence: A multilevel approach. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Journal of Developmental Psychology, 61, 124-143. doi: 10.13110/merrpalmquar1982.61.1.0124

Menesini, E., Sanchez, V., Fonzi, A., Ortega, R., Costabile, A., & Lo Feudo, G. (2003). Moral emotions and bullying: A cross-national comparison of differences between bullies, victims and outsiders. Aggressive Behavior, 29, 515-530. doi:10.1002/ab.10060

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

National Institute of Statistic and Geography (2015). Encuesta de cohesión social para la prevención de la violencia y delincuencia (Survey of social cohesion for violence and crime prevention). Mexico: INEGI.

Navarro-González, D., Lorenzo-Seva, U., & Vigil-Colet, A. (2016). How response bias affects the factorial structure of personality self-reports. Psicothema, 29, 465-470.

Newton, N. C., & Bussey, K. (2012). The age of reason: An examination of psychosocial factors involved in delinquent behaviour. Legal & Criminological Psychology, 17, 75-88. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8333.2010.02004.x

Newton, N. C., Havard, A., & Teesson, M. (2012). The association between moral disengagement, psychological distress, resistive self-regulatory efficacy and alcohol and cannabis use among adolescents in Sydney, Australia. Addiction Research & Theory, 20, 261-269. doi:10.3109/16066359.2011.614976

Newton, N. C., Stapinski, L. A., Champion, K. E., Teesson, M., & Bussey, K. (2016). The reliability and validity of the Australian Moral Disengagement Scale. Behaviour Change, 33, 136-149. doi:10.1017/bec.2016.9

Nucci, L. P. (2001). Education in the moral domain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oberman, M. L. (2011). Moral disengagement among bystander of school bullying. Journal of School Violence, 10, 239-257. doi:10.1080/15388220.2011.578276

Obermann, M. L. (2011). Moral disengagement among bystander of school bullying. Journal of School Violence, 10, 239- 257.

Olweus, D. (1991). Bully/victim problems among schoolchildren: Basic facts and effects of a school based intervention program. In D. Pepler & K. Rubin (Eds.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 411-448). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

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, 1288-1309. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01189.x

Passini, S. (2012). The delinquency drug relationship: The influence of social reputation and moral disengagement. Addictive Behaviors, 37, 577-579. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh .2012.01.012

Paulino, L. R., Avilés, J. M., & Fonseca, P. J. (2016). Bullying, un problema moral: representaciones de sí mismo y desconexiones morales. Revista de Educación (373), 9-34. doi: 10.4438/1988-592X-RE-2016-373-319.

Paxton, J. M., & Greene, J. D. (2010). Moral reasoning: hints and allegations. Topics in Cognitive Science, 2, 511-527. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2010.01096.x

Pelton, J., Gound, M., Forehand, R., & Brody, G. (2004). The Moral Disengagement Scale: Extension with an American minority sample. Journal of Psychopathology & Behavioral Assessment, 26, 31-39. doi: 10.1023/B:JOBA.000

Perren, S., Gutzwiller-Helfenfinger, E., Malti, T., & Hymel, S. (2012). Moral reasoning and emotion attributions of adolescent bullies, victims, and bully-victims. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30, 511-530. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-835X.2011.02059.x

Perren, S., & Gutzwiller-Helfenfinger, E. (2012). Cyberbullying and traditional bullying in adolescence: Differential roles of moral disengagement, moral emotions, and moral values. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9(2), 195-209. doi:10.1080/17405629.2011.643168

Pozzoli, T., Gini, G., & Vieno, A. (2012). Individual and class moral disengagement in bullying among elementary school children. Aggressive Behavior, 38, 378-388. doi:10.1002/ab.21442

Robson, C., & Witenberg, R. T. (2013). The influence of moral disengagement, morally based self-esteem, age, and gender on traditional bullying and cyberbullying. Journal of School Violence, 12, 211-231. doi:10.1080/15388220.2012.762921

Romero, M. L., & Kyriacou, C. (2016). Self-efficacy and moral disengagement in Mexican secondary school bullying bystanders. Psychology of Education Review, 40(2), 28-32.

Rubio-Garay, F., Amor, P. J., & Carrasco, M. A. (2017). Dimensionality and psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the Mechanisms of Moral Disengagement Scale (MMDS-S). Revista de Psicopatología y Psicología Clínica, 22, 43-54. doi:10.5944/rppc.vol.22.num.1.2017.16014

Smetana, J. C. (2006). Social-cognitive domain theory: consistencies and variations in children´s moral and social judgments. In J. C. Smetana & M. Killen (Eds.), Handbook of moral development (pp. 119-153). New Jersey: Erlbaum.

Smetana, J. C. (2013). Moral development: The social domain theory view. In P. Zelazo (Ed.), Oxford handbook of developmental psychology: Vol 2: Self and other (pp. 832-865). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Smetana, J. C., Jambon, M., & Ball, C. (2014). The social domain approach to children moral and social judgments. In M. Killen, & J. G. Smetana (Eds.), Handbook of moral development (2nd ed., pp. 23-45). New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Stevens, G., Deuling, J., & Armenakis, A. (2012). Successful psychopaths: Are they unethical decision-makers and why? Journal of Business Ethics, 105, 139-149. doi: 10.1007/s10551-011-0963-1

Tangney, J. P., Stuewig, J., & Mashek, D. J. (2007). Moral emotions and moral behavior. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 345-372. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.56.091103.070145

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

Thornberg, R., Pozzoli, T., & Jungert, T. (2015). Unique and interactive effects of moral emotions and moral disengagement on bullying and defending among school children. The Elementary School Journal, 116, 322-337. doi:10.1086/683985

Valdebenito, S., Ttofi, M., & Eisner, M. (2015). Prevalence rates of drug use among school bullies and victims: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 23, 137-146. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2015.05.004

Valdés, A. A., Carlos, E. A., Wendlandt, T. R., & Ramírez, M. (2016). Propiedades psicométricas de una escala para medir el manejo de la vergüenza en adolescentes (MOSS-SAST) (Psychometric properties of a scale to measure the management of shame in adolescents (MOSS-SAST). Acta Colombiana de Psicología, 19, 13-23.

Valdés, A. A., Martínez, B., & Carlos, E. A. (2018). The role of teaching practices in the prevention of school violence among peers. Revista de Psicodidáctica, 23, 33-38.

Van Noorden, T. H., Haselager, G. J., Cillessen, A. H., & Bukowski, W. M. (2014). Dehumanization in children: The link with moral disengagement in bullying and victimization. Aggressive Behavior, 40, 320-328. doi: 10.1002/ab.21522

Volk, A. A., Dane, A. V., & Marini, Z. A. (2014). What is bullying? A theoretical redefinition. Developmental Review, 34, 327-343.

Vossen, H. G. M., Piotrowski, J. T., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2015). Development of the Adolescent Measure of Empathy and Sympathy (AMES). Personality and Individual Differences, 74, 66-71. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.09.040

Wang, C., Ryoo, J., Swearer, S., Turner, R., & Goldberg, T. (2017). Longitudinal relationships between bullying and moral disengagement among adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46, 1304-1317. doi: 10.1007/s10964-016-0577-0

Wang, X., Yang, L., Gao, L., Lei, L., & Wang, C. (2017). Childhood maltreatment and Chinese adolescent's bullying and defending: The mediating role of moral disengagement. Child Abuse & Neglect, 69, 134-144. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.04.016

Wang, J., & Wang, X. (2012). Structural equation modeling. Applications using Mplus. Chichester, UK: Wiley.


Download data is not yet available.

Reference by

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Sistema OJS 3 - Metabiblioteca |