How We Look at Problems: Social Class Differences in Sense of Control and Attributions

[Speaker] Daganzo, Mary Angeline A:1
[Co-author] Bernardo, Allan B. I:1
1:University of Macau (Macao)

Social class shapes individual psychological experiences. Kraus, Piff & Keltner (2009) proposed that people in different social classes (i.e., subjective socioeconomic status) have different sense of control orientations and ways of perceiving social events. Chinese university students (N=347) were presented vignettes describing different problem situations and asked to attribute the causes of and solutions to the problem. They also provided self-report data on subjective social class and sense of control. We hypothesized that upper-class individuals, compared to lower-class, will be inclined to perceive problem situations as being internally caused, changeable, and controllable and that they are personally responsible for creating a solution. This social class difference was expected to be mediated by the individual's personal sense of control. Results of mediation analyses for each of the problem attributions fully supported the hypotheses. Implications for research on social class, attributions and possible behavioral outcomes are discussed.
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