Long Nguyen ACF Abstract FY11

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

83rd Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association

Long Nguyen

Background:

Social identity theory suggests that shared identity can play a role in judgments of responsibility and blame for misfortune. Shared political or religious identity can result in biases in blame in the case of misfortune (Zucker & Weiner, 1993). A strong belief in a just world may increase victim blaming in situations of misfortune (BJW; Lerner, 1965). The current study assesses the effect of religiosity, BJW, and conservatism in predicting responsibility attributed to victims of the earthquake disaster in Haiti.

Procedure:

Participants completed measures of BJW, conservatism, and religiosity. They were assigned to two scenarios: one describing the destruction of a Catholic town in Haiti, the other describing a town of Voodoo affiliation. Multiple regression was used to assess the attribution of responsibility for their plight based on religiosity, conservatism, and BJW.

Results:

When the town was depicted as Christian, conservatism of the participant predicted attributions of responsibility. When the town was Voodoo, the participant’s religiosity was a greater predictor of attributions of responsibility.

Conclusion:

Shared religious background affects the attributional process for responsibility for misfortune.

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