The belief in a just world and distress at school

Abstract

This article investigates the relationship between the belief in a just world (BJW) and distress at school. On the basis of just world theory, the authors argue that strong student BJW should be associated with low school distress. Two questionnaire studies with German secondary school students attending grades 7–13 are reported. Both studies found strong BJW to be associated with less distress at school, better grades, and the evaluation of grades and teachers as more just. Moreover, the relationship between strong BJW and low school distress persisted when controlled for grades, justice of grades, and teacher justice. This relationship held for all students, independently of their school track, grade level, or gender. Overall, the pattern of results reveals school distress to have a unique association with BJW and school-specific justice cognitions.

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Correspondence to Claudia Dalbert.

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Dalbert, C., Stoeber, J. The belief in a just world and distress at school. Soc Psychol Educ 8, 123–135 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-005-1835-2

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Keywords

  • just world belief
  • school distress
  • justice cognitions