Brazilian Adolescents’ Just World Beliefs and Its Relationships with School Fairness, Student Conduct, and Legal Authorities
Prior research has demonstrated that adolescence is a sensitive period to develop their belief in a just world (BJW), both general and personal. Research has found significant relationships between BJW, perceptions of school fairness, student conduct, and perceptions of legal authorities. However, no research has combined these constructs in one model to get a broader picture of how adolescents construct their worldview of fairness and how this influences their compliance with authorities. This study analyzed 475 Brazilian adolescents across three schools. A partially mediated and a mediated model were tested to determine if students’ BJW relate directly or indirectly to student conduct and perceptions of legal authorities through school fairness. The partially mediated model best fit the data. Personal BJW predicted students’ perceptions of the school fairness, which predicted student conduct. General BJW and school fairness predicted adolescents’ perceptions of legal authorities. Perceptions of school fairness are influenced by Personal BJW and are predictive of students’ conduct and opinions of legal authorities. By analyzing multiple constructs simultaneously, this study provides a picture of how these overlapping conceptualizations of justice interact. Students who do not believe their school is fair are less likely to respect and abide by the rules and are more likely to also expect unfair treatment from law enforcement and judicial officials. This study points to the importance of students’ perceptions of justice at school and highlights the far-reaching implications of students who do not perceive or expect justice in their lives.
KeywordsSchool climate Fairness Justice Student conduct Just world Adolescence
This study did not receive any outside funding source.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Both authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
- Aquino, J. G. (1998). A indisciplina e a escola atual (Lack of discipline in the current schools). Revista da Faculdade de Educação, 24(2), 181–204. Retrieved from http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-25551998000200011.
- Aquino, J. G. (2011). Da (contra) normatividade do cotidiano escolar: Problematizando discursos sobre indisipline discente (On the (counter-) normative spectrum of everyday school life: An analysis of the disciplinary events of a public school). Cadernos de Pesquisa, 41(143), 456–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Correia, I., & Vala, J. (2004). Belief in a just world, subjective well-being and trust of young adults. In C. Dalbert & H. Sallay (Eds.), The justice motive in adolescence and young adulthood: Origins and consequences (pp. 85–100). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Dalbert, C. (2001). The justice motive as a personal resource: Dealing with challenges and critical life events. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
- Dalbert, C. (2004). The implications and functions of just and unjust experiences in school. In C. Dalbert & H. Sallay (Eds.), The justice motive in adolescence and young adulthood: Origins and consequences (pp. 117–134). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Dalbert, C. (2009). Belief in a just world. In M. R. Leary & R. H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of individual differences in social behavior (pp. 288–297). New York, NY: Guilford Publications.Google Scholar
- Dalbert, C., & Radant, M. (2004). Parenting and young adolescents’ belief in a just world. In C. Dalbert & H. Sallay (Eds.), The justice motive in adolescence and young adulthood: Origins and consequences (pp. 11–25). London, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Dalbert, C., & Sallay, H. (Eds.). (2004). The justice motive in adolescence and young adulthood: Origins and consequences. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Dette, D. E., Stöeber, J., & Dalbert, C. (2004). Belief in a just world and adolescents’ vocational and social goals. In C. Dalbert & H. Sallay (Eds.), The justice motive in adolescence and young adulthood: Origins and consequences (pp. 231–247). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Emler, N., & Reicher, S. (2005). Delinquency: Cause or consequence of social exclusion. In D. Abrams, M. Hogge, & J. Marques (Eds.), Social psychology of inclusion and exclusion (pp. 211–241). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
- IBGE. (2008). Histórico da investigação sobre cor ou raca nas pesquisas domiciliares do IBGE (History of the color and race investigation in the national IBGE surveys). Retrieved from http://www.ibge.gov.br/home/estatistica/populacao/caracteristicas_raciais/notas_tecnicas.pdf.
- Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Machado, L. B., & Constantino, E. P. (2013). Teachers’ social representations concerning their work. Revista Electrónica de Psicología Política, 11(30), 74–90.Google Scholar
- Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2010). Position paper: Tackling inequalities in Brazil, China, India and South Africa. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/els/emp/46459969.pdf.
- Pedroso, R. C. (2005). Histórias de Intolerância: Estado Autoritário e Ideologia Policial (Stories of intolerance: The authoritarian state and police ideology). Sao Paulo, SP: Editora Humanitas.Google Scholar
- Peter, F., Dalbert, C., Kloeckner, N., & Radant, M. (2012). Personal belief in a just world, experience of teacher justice, and school distress in different class contexts. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 28(4), 1221–1235. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-012-0163-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pimentel, C. E., Gouveia, V. V., Diniz, P. K., Saenz, D. P., Santos, A. V., & Vieira, I. S. (2010). Evidências de validade de construto e precisão da Escala Geral do Mundo Justo (Evidence of construct validity and reliability of the General Just World Scale). Boletin de Psicologia, 60, 133.Google Scholar
- Piquero, A. R., Fagan, J., Mulvey, E. P., Steinberg, L., & Odgers, C. (2005). Criminology: Developmental trajectories of legal socialization among serious adolescent offenders. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 96(1), 267–298.Google Scholar
- Rubini, M., & Palmonari, A. (1995). Guidelines to the formal authority and political participation of adolescents. Orientamenti verso le autorita formali e partecipazione politica degli adolescenti. Giornale Italiano di Psicologia, 5, 757–775.Google Scholar
- Sallay, H. (2004). Entering the job market: Belief in a just world, fairness and well-being of graduating students. In C. Dalbert & H. Sallay (Eds.), The justice motive in adolescence and young adulthood: Origins and consequences (pp. 189–214). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Sanches, C., & Gouveia-Pereira, M. (2010). Julgamentos de justiça em contexto escolar e comportamentos desviantes na adolescência (Justice judgments within the school contexto and deviant behaviors in adolescence). Análise Psicológica, 28(1), 71–84.Google Scholar
- Transparency International (2013). National results: Brazil. Retrieved from https://www.transparency.org/country/#BRA_PublicOpinion.
- Tyler, T. R. (1990). Why people obey the law. New Haven, CT: Yale.Google Scholar