conflict & communication online, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2005
ISSN 1618-0747




Lydia Eckstein Jackson & Jennifer L. Sparr
Introducing a new scale for the measurement of moral disengagement in peace and conflict research

As part of his Social Cognitive Theory, Albert Bandura (e.g. 1986) introduces a process called moral disengagement. Eight different mechanisms are described through which behavior can be disengaged from moral self-control, thus enabling inhumane conduct without negative consequences for the person's self. These mechanisms will be briefly reviewed and the development of a new scale for measuring moral disengagement will be described. An existing measurement of moral disengagement developed by Grussendorf et al. (2002) and McAlister (2000, 2001) will be introduced and criticized. The necessity for the construction of a new scale, its development, psychometric properties and possible weaknesses will be discussed. As a related but conceptually different construct militarism-pacifism is introduced and first results regarding the relationship between the newly developed scale and the militarism-pacifism scale from Cohrs et al. (2002) are reported. First applications of the scale in two different studies will be outlined mainly in reference to properties of the new scale. Finally, critical questions about the construct will be raised and proposals for further research will be given.



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On the authors:
Lydia Eckstein Jackson recently received her M.S. in Psychology from Humboldt University in Berlin. She is currently teaching college-preparatory Latin and Contemporary Issues as well as college-level Psychology classes at Pope John Paul II High School near Nashville, Tennessee. For her Master's thesis she conducted research on the link of media use and the support of war.
Address: Pope John Paul II High School, 117 Caldwell Drive, Hendersonville, TN 37075, USA. eMail:

Jennifer L. Sparr is a research assistant and Ph. D. student at the department of psychology, work and organizational psychology unit, at the University of Konstanz. She dealt with the issue of constructive conflict coverage in her master's thesis.
Address: Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz; Postbox D42, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany. eMail: Website: