Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Developmental Psychology


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Tobias Krettenauer

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have become the most popular medium for social communication amongst adolescents and young adults. However, there is growing concern surrounding heightened ICT use and the development and activation of influential social constructs such as moral identity and moral disengagement. The importance of moral ideals to oneself (i.e., moral identity) and the distancing of oneself from these moral ideals (i.e., moral disengagement) are often contextual and may differ in online domains when compared to traditional face-to-face interactions. Developing youth consistently report high moral identity adherence within family and friend contexts during moral development, yet these constructs have not been assessed within an online setting. This investigation reports that self-reported online moral identity was significantly lower when compared to family and friend contexts. This effect remained stable across early adolescent (n = 97), middle to late adolescent (n = 170), and young adult (n = 112) age groups. Further, moral disengagement was significantly higher within online interactions when compared to face-to-face contexts and online moral disengagement significantly mediated the relationship between online moral identity and immoral online behaviours (i.e., pirating, trolling, & hacking). Male participants reported significantly higher moral disengagement and all forms of antisocial behaviours, while female participants reported significantly higher online moral identity.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season