Measuring students’ moral disengagement in physical education

Min Pan *, Ching-Shiang Chen ** and Wei-Ting Hsu ***

(*) Graduate Institute of Sports Training, University of Taipei. Shilin, Taipei, Taiwan
(**) Office of Physical Education, China Medical University. 91, Taichung, Taiwan
(***) Department of Physical Education and Kinesiology, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan


Pan, M., Chen, C., Hsu, W. (2019). Measuring students’ moral disengagement in physical education. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 50(3), 272-293. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2019.50.272


Studies have extensively probed misbehaviors in physical education (PE), yet the psychosocial mechanisms behind such behaviors have never been discussed. The present study adopted the concept of moral disengagement by Bandura (that individuals tend to use certain psychosocial mechanisms to rationalize their misbehaviors) as a foundation. The purpose was to develop a moral disengagement scale specifically for the PE context. The items were established through interviews, and the validity and reliability of the scale were examined with a two-phase quantitative study. A five-factor (conduct reconstrual, advantageous comparison, non-responsibility, distortion of consequences, and attribution of blame) and 17-item Moral Disengagement in Physical Education Scale (MDPES) was developed. The validity and reliability of the MDPES were established. The MDPES will contribute to the understanding of the psychosocial factors of students’ misbehaviors in PE. Scholars, educators, or practitioners may develop strategies accordingly to restrain students’ misbehaviors and meet the purpose of PE.

Keywords: Classroom management, Instruction in physical education, Misbe- haviors, Moral disengagement, Scale development