Status Congruence and Cognitive Consistency

  • Edward E. Sampson
Part of the Critical Issues in Social Justice book series (CISJ)


A hypothesis proposed by several sociologists (e.g., Benoit-Smullyan, 1944; Lenski, 1954; Parsons, 1949; Weber, 1946) established the basis for an initial theoretical paper that motivated a later series of empirical investigations. This hypothesis did not impress me at the time (1963) as involving a question of justice. We know that people in a given society or group typically have a variety of status attributes that can be and often are ranked. For example, one’s occupation may be ranked in terms of its perceived prestige; likewise, ones income can be ranked, as can one’s education and so forth. The sociological hypothesis of interest was the idea that these multiple systems of ranking tend toward an equilibrium or balance. The concept of status congruence, crystallization, or equilibration was developed to describe this tendency—a tendency for all the status rankings for an individual to be roughly at or about the same rank position.


Status Rank Cognitive Dissonance Status Congruence Psychological Principle Cognitive Consistency 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward E. Sampson
    • 1
  1. 1.Wright InstituteBerkeleyUSA

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