Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Education

Abstract

This research study explored the relationship between Just World Beliefs, Social Dominance Orientation, and Color-blind Racial Attitudes. Beliefs in Just World (BJW) asserts that people believe in a world where, in general, good things happen to those that are good and bad things happen to those that are bad. Research has shown that just world beliefs can be adaptive and protective, but unhealthy behaviors and attitudes can develop in an effort to defend these beliefs. For example, individuals with high beliefs tend to blame victims, deny the reality of social inequality, and hold prejudiced attitudes. Similar constructs related to attitudes and behaviors that promote racism, discrimination and victim derogation include colorblind racial attitudes and social dominance orientation. Like just world beliefs, color-blind racial attitudes deny social inequalities, and just world beliefs and social dominance orientation both represent ideological beliefs related to group inequality.

The goal of this research project was to contribute to a more complex understanding of the JWB construct by exploring its potential relationship with color-blind racial attitudes and social dominance orientation among White undergraduate students. This study contributed to an understanding of negative attitudes associated with discrimination and racism as they relate to an individual's beliefs that the world is generally just, both globally and personally. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted and determines that a 3-factor solution was most parsimonious, with the factors being just world beliefs, color-blind racial attitudes and social dominance orientation. Color-blind racial attitudes and social dominance orientation were positive correlated. No positive relationships were found between just world beliefs and color-blind racial attitudes or social dominance orientation. Limitations of the study and implications for the field are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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