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Empathy and Authenticity Online: The Roles of Moral Identity, Moral Disengagement, and Parenting Style

Morgan, Blaire ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6294-0511 and Fowers, B. (2022) Empathy and Authenticity Online: The Roles of Moral Identity, Moral Disengagement, and Parenting Style. Journal of Personality, 90 (2). pp. 183-202. ISSN Print: 0022-3506 Online: 1467-6494

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Figure 1 - Hypothesized Mediation Figure.docx - Accepted Version
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Abstract

Research suggests that the internet could be considered an arena for both virtuous and vicious behaviors, with observations of enhanced perspective-taking and honest self-reflections occurring alongside evidence of cyberbullying and deceptive communications. In the current study, we explore the role of three widely recognized sources of moral behavior - moral identity, moral disengagement and authoritative parenting – in predicting adolescents’ online empathy and online authenticity. Seven-hundred-and-eighty-eight UK adolescents aged 11-18 years (66% male) completed measures of these key constructs. Structural equation modelling results suggest that parental responsiveness and autonomy granting are positively related to adolescents’ moral identity. In turn, moral identity was positively related to both online empathy and online authenticity. Having a stronger moral identity also meant that adolescents were less likely to morally disengage, and moral disengagement was negatively related to online authenticity in adolescent females. Partial invariance across gender and age was observed. The findings indicate that moral identity encourages moral thoughts, feelings and actions in the online environment, including being authentic and empathic. As the formation and accessibility of one’s moral identity can be promoted, we discuss the implications of these findings for cultivating prosocial behavior in the online environment as well as future research avenues.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: empathy, authenticity, moral identity, moral disengagement, authoritative parenting, Internet use, Social Media
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Blaire Morgan
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2021 08:44
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 11:34
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/11189

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