Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 1325–1341 | Cite as

Procedural and Distributive Justice Beliefs for Self and Others: Multilevel Associations with Life Satisfaction and Self-Rated Health

  • Todd LucasEmail author
  • Ludmila Zhdanova
  • Craig A. Wendorf
  • Sheldon Alexander
Research Paper


Personal happiness and well-being are associated with a dispositional tendency to believe in the existence of justice. In addition, research suggests that links between justice beliefs and well-being are best revealed when utilizing distinctions between a belief in justice for one’s self versus others, and also a belief in procedural versus distributive justice. Using multilevel modeling, we examined whether individual-level links to personal well-being are moderated by higher-order (county-level) justice climates. Michigan (United States) residents (N = 497) were recruited through a statewide survey to complete measures of procedural and distributive justice beliefs for self and others, life satisfaction, and self-rated health. Individual-level beliefs in justice for both self and for others were more strongly associated with life satisfaction and health in climates where beliefs about justice for others were robust. In addition, an individual-level belief in distributive justice was more strongly linked to self-rated health in high distributive justice climates, and in low procedural justice climates. Taken together, these cross-level interactions suggest that higher-order justice climates may alter relationships between individual-level justice beliefs and personal well-being. We discuss implications for justice theory and directions for continued research on well-being and happiness.


Health Well-being Life satisfaction Justice beliefs Justice climate Belief in a just world Procedural justice Distributive justice 



This research was supported in part by the annual Statewide Survey of Michigan Residents conducted by the Center for Urban Studies (Wayne State University).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd Lucas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ludmila Zhdanova
    • 2
  • Craig A. Wendorf
    • 3
  • Sheldon Alexander
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine and Public Health SciencesWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  3. 3.University of Wisconsin—Stevens PointStevens PointUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA

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