Guilt, shame, and academic misconduct: Study


In a recent article for the Journal of Academic Ethics, Guy J Curtis discussed the relationship between students’ feelings of guilt and shame and their perceptions and intentions around academic misconduct. Curtis tested 459 students’ proneness to guilt and shame, expectations of feelings of guilt and shame if they engaged in academic misconduct, and their intentions to engage in academic misconduct. The test found a negative correlation between guilt and shame proneness and academic misconduct intentions. Some students reported lower levels of anticipated guilt, which Curtis suggested came from being undetected in the past. With this in mind, Curtis theorized that the prospect of being caught was potentially an even stronger deterrent than a student’s own moral code, and so institutions looking to discourage academic misconduct must take a multipronged approach to do so.

Journal of Academic Ethics