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There ought to be a law, but not for me: Hypocritical disjunctures between legal and moral beliefs and low-consensus immoral behaviors

Description: Although the scholarly literature on the relationship between law and morality has been largely theoretical, research has empirically linked conceptualizations of morality with both personal views on formal social control and personal conduct in deviant behaviors. In this study, survey respondents were asked about their moral and legal views on nine low-consensus deviant behaviors, including three drug offenses, three victimless sex offenses, and three criminal traffic offenses, as well as their own history of engaging in the behaviors. Analyses focus on the characteristics of respondents displaying "Belief-Behavior Incongruence"--individuals who believed an act to be immoral and/or felt that the act should be illegal, but nonetheless engaged in the behavior. Significant relationships were found between respondents' belief-behavior incongruent conduct in several lowconsensus deviant behaviors and their gender, religiosity, religion and political party. The socio-legal and theoretical implications of these findings are explored.

Suggested Citation:
Vogel, B., & Fradella, H.F. (2012). There ought to be a law, but not for me: Hypocritical disjunctures between legal and moral beliefs and low-consensus immoral behaviors [Electronic Version]. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 8(2), 87-110.

Keywords: deviant behavior, hypocrisy, morality, social control, cognitive dissonance

Date: Dec 06, 2012 | File Size: 380.37 Kb | Downloads: 2430

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