Belief in a Just World, Perceived Fairness, and Justification of the Status Quo
This chapter focuses primarily on the system justifying properties of a belief in a just world (BJW); that is, a belief that people get what they deserve. The chapter presents a review of research on the relation between individual differences in the strength of BJW and attributions and attitudes that justify the status quo by increasing one’s sense that outcomes are fair or deserved. One implication of the system justifying properties of a strong BJW is examined; namely, that a strong BJW is related to less perceived discrimination. The chapter presents original research suggesting that a strong BJW might lead to less perceived discrimination directed at one personally when the presence of that discrimination is relatively ambiguous. System justifying beliefs are more generally examined by discussing moderators and mediators of the relation between these various beliefs (including a BJW) and justification of the status quo.
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