Social Justice Research

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 143–167 | Cite as

The Downside of Being Up: A New Look at Group Relative Gratification and Traditional Prejudice

  • Josée LeBlanc
  • Ann M. BeatonEmail author
  • Iain Walker


In two experiments, we examine the moderating effect of the legitimacy and the stability of the advantaged in-group status on the relationship between measures of group relative gratification (GRG) and traditional prejudice among members of a structurally advantaged group. In Study 1, 133 participants learned that their advantaged in-group status was based on legitimate or illegitimate grounds. As expected, when participants learned of the legitimate status of their in-group, GRG was associated with the endorsement of traditional prejudice. In Study 2, 188 participants learned that their advantaged in-group status was expected to remain stable or to fluctuate. As predicted, when participants were alerted to the decline in the privileged status of the in-group, GRG was positively associated with traditional prejudice. These findings illuminate the ways in which members of advantaged groups perpetuate intergroup inequities and point to a fuller, more nuanced conceptualization of system stability.


Group relative gratification Prejudice Legitimacy Stability 



This research was supported by a doctoral scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada conferred to the first author (767-2010-1721) and a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada conferred to the second author (950-203481). The authors thank Tanya Monger for her assistance with data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversité de MonctonMonctonCanada
  2. 2.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganisationCanberraAustralia

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