According to the palliative function of ideology hypothesis proposed by System Justification Theory, endorsing system-justifying beliefs is positively related to general psychological well-being, because this fulfils existential, epistemic, and relational needs. We discuss and address three main issues: (1) the role of societal inequality, (2) comparisons by social status, and (3) cross-sectional versus longitudinal research. We used a longitudinal survey of representative online samples (N = 5,901) from 18 countries. The results supported the main argument proposed by the theory, in that system justification was positively and significantly related to life satisfaction and negatively related to anxiety and depression. The pattern of results suggested that the palliative function of system justification is more homogeneously distributed across individual and collective measures of social status than proposed by the theory, because the function was unaffected either by society-level inequality or by individual-level social status. These results allow us to infer that one of the reasons for the high stability of social arrangements is located in the psychological domain of palliative effects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology