Individual differences in the resistance to social change and acceptance of inequality predict system legitimacy differently depending on the social structure

M.J. Brandt, Christine Reyna

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Abstract

We propose that individual differences in the resistance to social change and the acceptance of inequality can have divergent effects on legitimacy depending on the context. This possibility was tested in a sample of 27 European countries (N = 144 367) and across four experiments (total N = 475). Individual differences in the resistance to social change were related to higher levels of perceived legitimacy no matter the level of inequality of the society. Conversely, individual differences in the acceptance of inequality were related to higher levels of perceived legitimacy in unequal societies, but either a relationship near zero or the opposite relationship was found in more equal societies. These studies highlight the importance of distinguishing between individual differences that make up political ideology, especially when making predictions in diverse settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266–278
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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