Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Lying behavior is prevalent in children of all ages (Jensen, Arnett, Feldman, & Cauffman, 2004; Lewis, Stanger& Sullivan, 1989; Wilson, Smith & Ross, 2003). Frequency and acceptance of lying behavior has been shown to differ based on context of the lie, gender and age of the child, and type of lie (altruistic vs. self-serving reasons) (Jenson, Arnett, Feldman & Caufmann, 2004; Talwar & Lee, 2002b). The current study examined the relationship between gender, type of lie, and lying behavior in an adolescent sample. Forty-two 11- to 15-year-old adolescents from suburban Midwestern schools were given hypothetical vignettes and lying questionnaires to examine their reported lying behavior. Results were analyzed using a repeated-measures ANOVA to test the effect of type of lie and gender on acceptance of lying behavior and number of lies told. As hypothesized, there was a significant main effect of type of lie; that is, adolescents were found to rate altruistic lies as more acceptable than self-serving lies. Contrary to the hypothesis, there was no interaction between gender and type of lie. That is, there was no gender difference in acceptance of altruistic or self-serving lies. It was also hypothesized that social intelligence and general lying behavior would correlate with and predict acceptance of lying behavior. Multiple regression showed that general lying behavior, but not social intelligence, was a significant predictor of acceptance of lying behavior. Further research should explore the difference between types of lies and to whom adolescents tell lies.


Truthfulness and falsehood in adolescence, Truthfulness and falsehood Sex differences

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