American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 53, Issue 1–2, pp 109–121 | Cite as

The Role of Attitudes Toward White Privilege and Religious Beliefs in Predicting Social Justice Interest and Commitment

  • Nathan R. Todd
  • Elizabeth A. McConnell
  • Rachael L. Suffrin
Original Article


The current study examines links among attitudes toward White privilege, religious beliefs, and social justice interest and commitment for White Christian students. Two distinct patterns of results emerged from a path analysis of 500 White Christian students. First, a willingness to confront White privilege was positively associated with the sanctification of social justice (i.e., attributing spiritual significance to working for social justice) and both were positively associated with social justice interest and commitment. Second, awareness of White privilege was negatively associated with religious conservatism, and religious conservatism was negatively associated with social justice interest. These patterns show that White privilege attitudes directly (i.e., willingness to confront White privilege) and indirectly (i.e., awareness of White privilege through religious conservatism) predicted social justice interest and commitment. Moreover, religious beliefs demonstrated opposite patterns of association with social justice interest and commitment such that the sanctification of social justice positively predicted social justice interest and commitment whereas religious conservatism negatively predicted social justice interest. Overall, findings demonstrate direct and indirect links between White privilege attitudes, religious beliefs, and social justice interest and commitment. Limitations and implications for future community psychology research and collaboration also are discussed.


Social justice Attitudes toward White privilege Religious conservatism Intersectionality Sanctification 


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Copyright information

© Society for Community Research and Action 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathan R. Todd
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elizabeth A. McConnell
    • 1
  • Rachael L. Suffrin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyDePaul UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

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