Aim of this study was to analyze the influence of early attachment relationships on the development of cognitive processes concerning moral disengagement and how the latter can represent a mediation variable with aggressive behaviors, with particular reference to the phenomenon of bullying comparing bullies, victims and non-involved. Participants were 199 children, 106 males and 93 females aged between 8 and 11 years (M = 9.39, SD = 0.91), attending the third, fourth and fifth grade classes, in which the presence of bullies, victims and non-involved was detected. Instruments administered were: Peer Nomination (Menesini, 2003) for the roles of bullies, victims and non-involved; the Moral Disengagement Scale for Bullying as for the measurement of the moral disengagement (Gini & Caravita, 2013); and the Separation Anxiety Test (SAT) for the measurement of the mental models of attachment (Attili, 2001). Teachers assessed behavioral patterns by Social Emotional Dimension Scales, SEDS (Ianes & Savelli, 1994). The overall results highlight moral disengagement represents a mediator between insecure attachment and aggressive behavior. In the comparison between bullies, victims and non-involved, the former are not only more frequently insecure, but also report higher scores in moral disengagement and are evaluated as more aggressive by teachers.
Keywords: Attachment, moral disengagement, bullying, school age.