Personality, Attitude, and Demographic Correlates of Academic Dishonesty: A Meta-Analysis

Samuel D. Lee, Nathan R. Kuncel, Jacob Gau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over a century of research has focused on the relationship between student characteristics and academic dishonesty. Here we conduct a meta-analysis of this extensive literature across three broad domains: personality, academic attitudes, and historical information including demographic and prior accomplishments. After analyzing correlations from over 27,000 participants across 75 samples, several relationships stand out. Although measures of conscientiousness (p = -.25) and agreeableness (p = -.13) from the popular five-factor model demonstrate important relationships with dishonesty, equal or greater effects were found for specific personality scales including impulsivity (p = .39) and psychopathy (p = .40). Both morality (p = -.24) and academic self-efficacy (p = -.28) were related to less dishonest behavior but demonstrated substantially smaller effects than measures of neutralization (p = .43), a tendency to justify and deflect immoral behavior as reasonable given the circumstances. Hypotheses were developed and results are framed by two competing models of academic dishonesty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological Bulletin
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Academic dishonesty
  • Academic integrity
  • Cheating
  • Meta-analysis
  • Personality

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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