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Type: Thesis
Title: How do People with High ‘Belief in a Just World-Self’ React Towards an Innocent and a Non-innocent Victim?
Author: Mollas, Harula
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Psychology
Abstract: The theory of belief in a just world (BJW) claims that the extent to which one believes that the world treats them fairly affects one’s response to an adverse event involving themselves or a third party. Generally, high BJW for the self (BJW-Self) is associated with higher levels of wellbeing and prosocial behaviour, whilst high BJW for others (BJW-Other) correlates higher with pessimism and victim-blame. This study focused on how BJW-Self and BJWOther relate with people’s levels of empathy, willing to help, positive attitudes, perspectivetaking, deservingness, and victim-blame towards another person’s misfortune. The victim’s responsibility was manipulated to find an interaction between BJW-Self or BJW-Other and the manipulation. It was hypothesised that the higher the BJW-Self scores, the higher the levels of positive responding would be. Conversely, the higher the BJW-Other scores, the higher the levels of negative responding would be. Participants (N=372) read one of the two scenarios about a person contracting HIV. Then, they completed the measures for each outcome variable. Quantitative analysis involves an independent samples t-test, Person’s correlations, and a moderation analysis using hierarchical regression. Contrary to the hypothesis, there were no significant interactions found. However, innocence manipulation affected people’s reactions, as participants demonstrated more positive responses towards innocent victims, and more negative responses towards non-innocent victims. Moreover, there was a significant negative correlation between BJW-Other and empathy; and a significant positive correlation between BJW-Other, deservingness, and victim-blame. The implications of the study will be discussed.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (B.PsychSc(Hons)) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2020
Keywords: Honours; Psychology
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