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Understanding Adolescents' Unethical Online Behaviors: A Structural Equation Approach
Fred H. F. Chan, Allan H. K. Yuen

Last modified: 2015-05-08


This study employed a revised model of theory of planned behavior (TPB), which synthesized perspective from social cognitive theory, to understand the unethical/risky online behaviors of adolescents. Two forms of unethical online behaviors, namely plagiarism and unauthorized acts were examined. A stratified random sample of 757 Secondary two students in Hong Kong was obtained. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. The proposed model was in general consistent with TPB, and it explained 54.8% and 48.0% of the variances in plagiarism and unauthorized acts respectively. It was found that peers' unethical behaviors were the most influential in shaping students' intention to act unethically. General measurements of ICT attitude and ICT literacy were also found to be applicable in the TPB framework, and a strong positive association was observed between these two constructs. Interestingly, neither plagiarism intention nor plagiarism behavior was related to ICT literacy, whereas unauthorized acts' intention influenced both forms of unethical behaviors. Implications of the findings for educators are discussed.