An honest cheater: perception of self-concept, academic and clinical dishonesty among nursing students.

Elena Maoz, Iana Gorbunov, Efrat Danino, Moran Zerahia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Self-Concept Maintenance Theory emphasizes the internal moral principles of the individual and their influence on self-perception of personal identity. They also inform the way in which an individual catalogues their behavior. For instance, a nursing student who is academically dishonest, yet justifies their behavior in rational terms. They act with dishonesty, yet their self-concept is of an honest person. The study examined the extent of dishonesty in nursing education (includes academic and clinical), the perception of self-concept vis-à-vis dishonesty, and the relationship between academic and clinical dishonesty among nursing students. A cross-sectional study. A major university in central Israel. Nursing students (n = 343), the age range is 19–58 and 80% women. Academically, 37% come from a professional post-graduate program, 32% from a baccalaureate program, and 31% from a nursing professional retraining program. The research tool that was disseminated to the participants is based on the Student Academic Dishonesty Questionnaire. The tool examined actual academic and clinical honesty/dishonesty, behavior cataloging by students, their internal principles, and perception of self-concept relating to honesty/dishonesty. Significant relationships were found between all model variables, with no differences noted between programs and the number of years to the degree. Academic dishonesty was reported by 41% of the students with 11% reporting clinical dishonesty. Academic dishonesty was related to clinical dishonesty (χ2 = 34.752; P < 0.0001). The study findings are most troubling due to the direct impact of dishonesty on patients' treatment, outcomes and the graduates' professional level. Dishonesty can lead to significant deficiencies in knowledge, professionalism and expertise of the future professional. This state of affairs can be detrimental to the quality of patient treatment. Thus, dishonesty in academic and clinical education has devastating consequences for individual patients and the health and safety of the broader community. • Research based on the SCM theory and conducted with nursing students. • Most of the students perceive themselves as academically and clinically honest. • The students reported academic (41%) and clinical (11%) dishonesty. • A significant correlation between clinical and academic dishonesty was found. • Profile prediction was conducted of an honest nursing student.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105406
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • Academic misconduct
  • Education
  • Ethics
  • Nursing
  • Professional misconduct
  • Scientific misconduct
  • Self-concept
  • Students


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