Gender Differences in Students’ Rational Decisions to Cheat

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Few rational choice studies of deviant behavior have reported statistical tests of difference in the effects of explanatory variables between men and women. Using scenario‐based survey data from a sample of 330 university students (171 women and 159 men), this study examined gender differences in levels and effects of explanatory variables on intentions to cheat on exams. Findings showed significant gender differences in mean scores of low self‐control, anticipated shame states, perceived external sanctions, grade point average, and reported test‐cheating intentions. Regression analyses showed that the effects of moral beliefs and perceived pleasure of cheating were significantly more pronounced in predicting women's cheating intentions, whereas men were more affected by prior cheating experiences and friends’ cheating behavior. Findings also indicated that anticipated shame states accounted for the association between gender and cheating intentions. These results are consistent with recent studies dealing with gender‐related developmental differences regarding deviant propensities.