VERA CUBELA, LOZENA IVANOV 

 BELIEFS IN A (UN)JUST WORLD AND THE CENTRALITY OF JUSTICE
Their Relations to a Sense of Coherence and Generalized Future Expectancies

 

Summary


The aim of this study was to examine the construct validity and utility of the separate measures of the belief in a just world (BJW), the belief in an unjust world (BUW) and the centrality of justice in predicting a sense of coherence, optimism and pessimism. The choice of these particular criteria was based on the assumption that the justice related beliefs are adaptive in the degree to which they provide to an individual a sense of security, personal control, expectancy of positive future outcomes, and thus contribute to the perception of one's world as an ordered, predictable, meaningful and benevolent place.
The study was performed on a group of 70 students at the Faculty of Science and Arts in Zadar. The mentioned constructs were assessed using the General BJW scale (Dalbert et al., 1987), the Personal BJW scale (Dalbert, 1993), the Centrality of Justice scale (Dalbert et al., 1987), the Sense of Coherence scale (Antonovsky, 1987), and adapted versions of Chang' s scales of optimism and pessimism (LackoviŠ-Grgin et al., 1998). The BUW was assessed using a ten-item scale that was construed for the purpose of this study. All instruments showed satisfactory high internal consistency (alpha coefficients were .74 or higher).
In line with the previous research findings, the results of this study showed that, compared to the general BJW, the BJW in personal domain is more pronounced and more closely associated with a sense of coherence, optimism and pessimism. As expected, BUW was negatively related to both BJWs (especially to the general BJW), and after controlling for BJWs remains significantly (and positively) related only to pessimism. BUW's bivariate relationship with optimism was not significant, and the negative correlation with the sense of coherence was reduced to nonsignificance after partialling the BJW. Centrality of justice was unrelated to BJW and BUW to a sense of coherence, optimism and pessimism. These results are discussed with the reference to some recent theorising about the nature and dimensionality of the BJW construct.

KEY WORDS: belief in a just world, centrality of justice, sense of coherence, optimism, pessimism