Social Justice Research

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 231–240

Conservative Shift among Liberals and Conservatives Following 9/11/01


DOI: 10.1007/s11211-009-0098-z

Cite this article as:
Nail, P.R. & McGregor, I. Soc Just Res (2009) 22: 231. doi:10.1007/s11211-009-0098-z


Political orientation and political attitudes were measured in two independent adult samples. One sample was taken several months before the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01; the other, shortly after. Liberal and conservative participants alike reported more conservative attitudes following 9/11/01 than before. This conservative shift was strongest on two items with the greatest relevance to 9/11/01: George W. Bush and Increasing Military Spending. Marginally significant conservative shifts were observed on two other items (Conservatives, Socialized Medicine), and the direction of change on eight of eight items was in a conservative direction. These results provide support for the motivated social cognition model of conservatism (Jost et al., 2003) over predictions derived from terror management theory (e.g., Greenberg et al., 1992).


Motivated social cognitionTerror management theoryWorldview defensePolitical orientationLiberalsConservativesPsychological defensesTerrorist threats9/11 Terrorism

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Central ArkansasConwayUSA
  2. 2.York UniversityTorontoUSA