Social Justice Research

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 25–42

When Citizens Fight Back: Justice Sensitivity and Resistance to Political Reform

Authors

    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Salzburg
  • Stephanie Guter
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Munich
  • Mark P. Zanna
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Waterloo
  • Eva Jonas
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Salzburg
  • Dieter Frey
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Munich
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11211-011-0125-8

Cite this article as:
Traut-Mattausch, E., Guter, S., Zanna, M.P. et al. Soc Just Res (2011) 24: 25. doi:10.1007/s11211-011-0125-8

Abstract

A considerable number of individuals show resistance to reform, whereas others, although similarly affected, do not react in a resistant way at all. Based on research showing that people differ concerning how sensitive they are toward being a victim of injustice (victim justice sensitivity), we argued that people high in victim justice sensitivity perceive a reform more as an illegitimate limitation to their freedom resulting in more reactance. Consequently, people high in victim justice sensitivity should show more resistance to reform. We conducted three studies to test these assumptions. Our studies revealed that physicians (healthcare reform, Study 1) and students (introduction of tuition fees, Studies 2 and 3) with higher victim justice sensitivity experienced more reactance and thus showed more resistance to reform. The implications of these results for the implementation of political reforms are discussed.

Keywords

Justice sensitivityResistance to reformReactanceVictimBeneficiary

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011