Amy Ver Wey ACF Abstract FY11

"Just World Belief, Religiosity, and Attributions of Responsibility for Misfortune"

83rd Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association

Amy Ver Wey

Shared political or religious identity can result in blame for misfortune. A
strong belief in a just world (BJW) may increase victim blaming in situations of misfortune.
The current study assesses the effect of religiosity, BJW, and conservatism in
predicting responsibility attributed to victims of the earthquake disaster in Haiti. Participants
completed measures of BJW, conservatism, and religiosity. They were assigned to two scenarios: one describing the destruction of a Catholic town, the other describing an identical Voodoo town. Multiple regression was used to assess the attribution of responsibility for their
plight based on these factors. When the town was depicted as Christian, conservatism
predicted attributions of responsibility. When the town was Voodoo, the participant’s
religiosity was a greater predictor of attributions of responsibility, indicating that
shared religious background affects the attributional process for responsibility for misfortune.

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