Given the prevalence of antisocial behavior in sport, researchers have begun to explore the role of self-regulatory processes in reducing such conduct. In this research, we examined the effects of moral disengagement on emotion and antisocial sport behavior. Specifically, we investigated whether moral disengagement facilitated antisocial behavior and whether this effect was mediated by anticipated feelings of guilt. Using a cross-sectional design, Study 1 found that the relationship between moral disengagement and antisocial behavior was partially mediated by anticipated guilt. Using an experimental design, Study 2 found that attribution of blame (i.e., moral disengagement mechanism) reduced negative emotional reactions to antisocial behavior and increased reported likelihood to act antisocially; this latter effect was mediated by anticipated guilt. The present findings provide empirical support for Bandura's (1991) social–cognitive theory of moral thought and action, whereby moral disengagement facilitates antisocial behavior partly because it affects anticipated guilt.
- affective pictures