Testing the status-legitimacy hypothesis in Chinese different social classes: The role of attribution for the gap between the rich and the poor

[Speaker] Yang, Shenlong:2
[Co-author] Guo, Yongyu:2, Li, Jing:2, Hu, Xiaoyong:2, Shu, Shouli:2, Chen, Hanming:1,2, Bai, Jie:2
1:Central China Normal University (China (People's Republic of China)), 2:School of Psychology, Central China Normal University (China (People's Republic of China))

System justification theory posits that lower social class members justify their social systems more than higher class, which is called status-legitimacy hypothesis. But many researches support the opposite opinion that higher class individuals exhibit more system justification. The present research explores whether the status-legitimacy hypothesis exists for Chinese social classes, as well as its potential mechanism. Based on questionnaire method, study 1 (N = 707) showed that higher class tended to justify the system more. By manipulating subjective social class, study 2 (N = 142) demonstrated a mediate effect that higher class exhibited a stronger justification via an internal attribution for the polarization between the rich and the poor. Study 3 replicated the mediate effect by investigating 696 college students. This result is not only a useful exploration of status-legitimacy hypothesis, but also a valuable reference for social management.
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