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Long Nguyen ACF Abstract FY11

"Just World Belief, Religiosity, and Attributions of Responsibility for Misfortune"

83rd Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association

Long Nguyen


Social identity theory suggests that shared identity can play a role in judgments of responsibility and blame for misfortune. Shared political or religious identity can result in biases in blame in the case of misfortune (Zucker & Weiner, 1993). A strong belief in a just world may increase victim blaming in situations of misfortune (BJW; Lerner, 1965). The current study assesses the effect of religiosity, BJW, and conservatism in predicting responsibility attributed to victims of the earthquake disaster in Haiti.


Participants completed measures of BJW, conservatism, and religiosity. They were assigned to two scenarios: one describing the destruction of a Catholic town in Haiti, the other describing a town of Voodoo affiliation. Multiple regression was used to assess the attribution of responsibility for their plight based on religiosity, conservatism, and BJW.


When the town was depicted as Christian, conservatism of the participant predicted attributions of responsibility. When the town was Voodoo, the participants religiosity was a greater predictor of attributions of responsibility.


Shared religious background affects the attributional process for responsibility for misfortune.