Social Justice Research

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 65–78

More on Ultimate and Immanent Justice: Results from the Research Project “Justice as a Problem within Reunified Germany”

  • Jürgen Maes
  • Manfred Schmitt

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022039624976

Cite this article as:
Maes, J. & Schmitt, M. Social Justice Research (1999) 12: 65. doi:10.1023/A:1022039624976


In earlier studies it was shown that two domain-specific variates of belief in a just world, namely belief in immanent justice and belief in ultimate justice concerning severe illness, differ systematically and significantly. Only immanent justice leads to accusation and derogation of innocent victims while ultimate justice is concordant with positive evaluations of victims and helping behavior. With regard to the research project “Justice as a Problem within Reunified Germany” (GiP, from the German “Gerechtigkeit als innerdeutsches Problem”), two new scales were developed for purposes of measuring general belief in immanent and ultimate justice. Using a sample of 929 West Germans and 1,275 East Germans, some of the correlation patterns found in earlier studies could be replicated. For example, immanent justice did correlate with draconian judgments (the proneness to strict and severe judgments), while ultimate justice was associated with mildness. Only ultimate justice correlated with existential guilt about the underprivileged. Beside this confirmation of earlier findings, new correlation patterns were revealed. For example, only immanent justice correlated with the equity principle, whereas ultimate justice corresponded to the need and equality principles.

justice motivation distribution rules draconity German reunification emotions 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jürgen Maes
    • 1
  • Manfred Schmitt
    • 2
  1. 1.USA
  2. 2.Universität Trier and Otto-von-Guericke Universität MagdeburgUSA

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