System justification enhances well-being: A longitudinal analysis of the palliative function of system justification in 18 countries

Salvador Vargas-Salfate, Dario Paez, Sammyh S. Khan, James H. Liu, Homero Gil de Zúñiga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-590
Number of pages24
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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