Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 912–921 | Cite as

“We get what we deserve”: the belief in a just world and its health consequences for Blacks

  • Nao HagiwaraEmail author
  • Courtney J. Alderson
  • Jessica M. McCauley


This study explored whether individual differences in the endorsement of the belief that the world is a just place (i.e., the just world belief) would predict individual differences in resilience/vulnerability to the negative health consequences of discrimination. One-hundred and thirty Blacks participated in a vital check and completed a computer-based questionnaire that included measures of the just world belief, perceived discrimination, physical and mental health, and the presence/absence of chronic illnesses. Endorsement of the just world belief was not associated with self-reported physical/mental health; however, it moderated the effects of perceived discrimination on the number of chronic illnesses and systolic blood pressure. These findings suggest that Blacks who believe that the world is a just place where they get what they deserve may be at a particularly higher risk for the negative health consequences of discrimination. Theoretical and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.


Blacks Perceived discrimination Health disparities The just world belief Individual differences 


Conflict of Interest

Nao Hagiwara, Courtney J. Alderson and Jessica M. McCauley declared that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nao Hagiwara
    • 1
    Email author
  • Courtney J. Alderson
    • 1
  • Jessica M. McCauley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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