Nurse moral disengagement

Roberta Fida (Lead Author), Carlo Tramontano, Marinella Paciello, Mari Kangasniemi, Alessandro Sili, Andrea Bobbio, Claudio Barbaranelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Ethics is a founding component of the nursing profession; however, nurses sometimes find it difficult to constantly adhere to the required ethical standards. There is limited knowledge about the factors that cause a committed nurse to violate standards; moral disengagement, originally developed by Bandura, is an essential variable to consider.

Research objectives: This study aimed at developing and validating a nursing moral disengagement scale and investigated how moral disengagement is associated with counterproductive and citizenship behaviour at work.

Research design: The research comprised a qualitative study and a quantitative study, combining a crossvalidation approach and a structural equation model.
Participants and research context: A total of 60 Italian nurses (63% female) involved in clinical work and enrolled as students in a postgraduate master’s programme took part in the qualitative study. In 2012, the researchers recruited 434 nurses (76% female) from different Italian hospitals using a convenience
sampling method to take part in the quantitative study.

Ethical considerations: All the organisations involved and the university gave ethical approval; all respondents participated on a voluntary basis and did not receive any form of compensation.

Findings: The nursing moral disengagement scale comprised a total of 22 items. Results attested the mono-dimensionality of the scale and its good psychometric properties. In addition, results highlighted a significant association between moral disengagement and both counterproductive and citizenship behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-564
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number5
Early online date23 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Citizenship behaviour
  • counterproductive work behaviour
  • moral disengagement
  • stress
  • validation

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