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 Hagiwara
  • Courtney J. Alderson
  • Jessica M. McCauley
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Blacks Perceived discrimination Health disparities The just world belief Individual differences 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

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

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