A multidiscipline exploration of college students' perceptions of academic dishonesty: are nursing students different from other college students?

Nurse Educ Today. 2009 Oct;29(7):710-4. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2009.03.001. Epub 2009 Apr 1.


As a result of the proliferation of technology, academic dishonesty in colleges and universities is on the rise and is a global issue. The problem of cheating behaviors in students is so pervasive that it is almost commonplace. Most students do not see their cheating actions as out of the ordinary or morally wrong. The process of neutralization is a major concern when students incorporate cheating into "normal" student culture. In a Gallup poll conducted in 2006, nursing was perceived to be the most honest of 23 professions and the one with highest ethical standards (Saad, L., 2006. Nursing tops the list of most honest and ethical professions. The Gallup Poll. www.galluppoll.com/content/?ci=25888&pg=1 (retrieved 30.07.08.)). With such a high ethical expectation of the profession, one would assume that academic dishonesty would be nonexistent in nursing programs. Yet it has been documented that nursing students engage in academically dishonest behaviors that they do not perceive as such. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and attitudes of academic dishonesty in undergraduate students and to determine whether undergraduate nursing students' perceptions of academic dishonesty were different from undergraduate students majoring in other disciplines. Results of the study revealed clear differences in student perceptions of academic dishonesty by disciplines they were majoring in. Students majoring in nursing most frequently recognized academic dishonest behaviors compared to the other students sampled in this study.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Deception
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate*
  • Ethics, Nursing*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Fraud*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Perception*
  • Students, Nursing*
  • Young Adult