Social Dominance Orientation and Selfish Behaviors in Chinese Adolescents: the Mediating Role of Psychological Entitlement

  • Bao-yu Bai
  • Xu-yun Tan
  • Ning ZhangEmail author
  • Ying Yang


Selfish behaviors widely occur in adolescence and can be detrimental to adolescents’ moral development and social well-being. However, little is known about the antecedents of selfish behaviors among adolescents in collectivist samples (e.g., East Asia). As social dominance orientation (SDO) is negatively related to morality and concerns about others, we aim to understand whether and how individual differences in SDO predict people’s intention to engage in selfish behaviors among Chinese adolescents. We hypothesize that people high in SDO would display higher level of psychological entitlement and, in turn, be more likely to engage in selfish behaviors. To examine this hypothesis, we measured SDO, psychological entitlement, and selfish behavioral intentions using hypothetical scenarios among 254 middle school students aged 12–18 years in China. The results demonstrated that, compared to middle school students low in SDO, those high in SDO reported stronger selfish behavioral intentions, and this effect was partially mediated by psychological entitlement. Directions for future research and implications for interventions to curb selfish behaviors among adolescents are discussed.


Social dominance orientation Psychological entitlement Selfish behaviors Chinese adolescents 



This research was supported by a MOE Youth Project from the 12th Five-year Plan of National Education Sciences of China (EBA140363):The Influence of Psychological Entitlement on College Students’ Unethical Behaviors and Its Intervention Measures.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bao-yu Bai
    • 1
  • Xu-yun Tan
    • 2
  • Ning Zhang
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Ying Yang
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, School of PhilosophyWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Institute of SociologyChinese Academy of Social SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Public HealthZhejiang University School of MedicineHangzhouChina
  4. 4.The Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of MedicineHangzhouChina
  5. 5.School of Psychology and Cognitive ScienceEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

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