Education as an antidote to cynicism

A longitudinal investigation

O. Stavrova, D. Ehlebracht

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Abstract

Although cynical beliefs about human nature yield numerous adverse consequences for individuals’ life outcomes and well-being, very little is known about factors that counteract the development of cynical beliefs. Drawing from the literature on the “education effect” describing the importance of education in overcoming close-mindedness and negative views of others, we propose that education can represent an antidote to cynicism. The results of two large-scale longitudinal studies showed that education was associated with lower levels of cynicism over time spans of 4 and 9 years. Longitudinal mediation analyses underscored the role of individual differences in perceived constraints, a facet of personal control, as the psychological mechanism underlying the education effect: Higher education is associated with a reduced perception of constraints, which is in turn related to less endorsement of cynical beliefs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59–69
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Education
Individuality

Keywords

  • ATTAINMENT
  • FIT INDEXES
  • MEDLEY HOSTILITY
  • PERCEIVED CONTROL
  • PERSONAL CONTROL
  • PHYSICAL HEALTH
  • POWER
  • SENSE
  • SOCIAL TRUST
  • SOCIOECONOMIC-STATUS
  • cynical beliefs about human nature
  • educational attainment
  • personal control

Cite this

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title = "Education as an antidote to cynicism: A longitudinal investigation",
abstract = "Although cynical beliefs about human nature yield numerous adverse consequences for individuals’ life outcomes and well-being, very little is known about factors that counteract the development of cynical beliefs. Drawing from the literature on the “education effect” describing the importance of education in overcoming close-mindedness and negative views of others, we propose that education can represent an antidote to cynicism. The results of two large-scale longitudinal studies showed that education was associated with lower levels of cynicism over time spans of 4 and 9 years. Longitudinal mediation analyses underscored the role of individual differences in perceived constraints, a facet of personal control, as the psychological mechanism underlying the education effect: Higher education is associated with a reduced perception of constraints, which is in turn related to less endorsement of cynical beliefs.",
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Education as an antidote to cynicism : A longitudinal investigation . / Stavrova, O.; Ehlebracht, D.

In: Social Psychological and Personality Science, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2018, p. 59–69.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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