Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

2014 Edition
| Editors: Alex C. Michalos

Coping with an Unjust World

  • Michèlle Bal
  • Kees van den Bos
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_4121



Just-world theory (Lerner, 1980) proposed that people have a fundamental need to believe that the world is a just place. According to the theory, people have therefore developed several strategies to cope with unjust events, ranging from helping to blaming victims of injustice. Subsequent research has identified additional ways in which people can cope with an unjust world (e.g., compensatory rationalizations and immanent justice reasoning).


Belief in a Just World

 Justiceis one of people’s and society’s core values. People generally strive to do the right thing and greatly value being treated fairly. Moreover, rules of justice are pivotal to the functioning of most, if not all, societies. Yet, people are confronted with injustice on a daily basis. These events do not only entail the grave injustices we see on the news, such as wars and hunger, but also encompass individual...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social PsychologyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands