Advertisement

Physical shortness lessens victim-blaming: The mediating role of belief in a just world

  • Bao-yu Bai
  • Xiao-xiao LiuEmail author
  • Mark Khei
Article
  • 77 Downloads

Abstract

We live in a society where body height matters. Previous research has explored how body height influences individuals’ perception of others, of themselves, and of the surrounding world. Evidence has shown that physical shortness is associated with various disadvantages and a lower level of personal belief in a just world (BJW-self). We hypothesize that an individual’s physical height will predict his or her inclination to blame innocent victims, mediated by BJW-self. We conducted a study among 346 college students in China to test our hypothesis. Indeed, we found that, compared to shorter people, taller people were more likely to blame innocent victims, and this effect was mediated by BJW-self. Females are more sensitive to this mediating effect. Implications for future research on physical shortness and BJW were discussed.

Keywords

Belief in a just world Body height China Victim-blaming 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Bai, B. Y., Liu, X. X., & Kou, Y. (2016a). Belief in a just world lowers bribery intention. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 19(1), 66–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bai, B. Y., Liu, X. X., Shang, S. J., Zhong, N., & Zhang, Q. P. (2016b). Body shortness lowers belief in a just world: The mediating role of life satisfaction. Personality & Individual Differences, 101, 366–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bal, M., & van den Bos, K. (2010). The role of perpetrator similarity in reactions toward innocent victims. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(6), 957–969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bal, M., & van den Bos, K. (2015). Putting the “I” and “us” in justice: Derogatory and benevolent reactions toward innocent victims in self-focused and other-focused individuals. Social Justice Research, 28(3), 274–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bizer, G. Y., Hart, J., & Jekogian, A. M. (2012). Belief in a just world and social dominance orientation: Evidence for a mediational pathway predicting negative attitudes and discrimination against individuals with mental illness. Personality & Individual Differences, 52(3), 428–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boyson, A. R., Pryor, B., & Butler, J. (1999). Height as power in women. North American Journal of Psychology, 1(1), 109–114.Google Scholar
  7. Buss, D. M. (1994). The evolution of desire: Strategies of human mating. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  8. Callan, M. J., Ellard, J. H., & Nicol, J. E. (2006). The belief in a just world and immanent justice reasoning in adults. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(12), 1646–1658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Callan, M. J., Powell, N. G., & Ellard, J. H. (2007). The consequences of victim physical attractiveness on reactions to injustice: The role of observers’ belief in a just world. Social Justice Research, 20(4), 433–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carrieri, V., & De Paola, M. (2012). Height and subjective well-being in Italy. Economics and Human Biology, 10(3), 289–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen, H., Jackson, T., & Huang, X. (2006). The negative physical self scale: Initial development and validation in samples of Chinese adolescents and young adults. Body Image, 3(4), 401–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Correia, I., Alves, H., Sutton, R., Ramos, M., Gouveia-Pereira, M., & Vala, J. (2012). When do people derogate or psychologically distance themselves from victims? Belief in a just world and ingroup identification. Personality & Individual Differences, 53(6), 747–752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Correia, I., Batista, M. T., & Lima, M. L. (2009). Does the belief in a just world bring happiness? Causal relationships among belief in a just world, life satisfaction and mood. Australian Journal of Psychology, 61(4), 220–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dalbert, C. (1999). The world is more just for me than generally: About the personal belief in a just world scale’s validity. Social Justice Research, 12(2), 79–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dalbert, C. (2009). Belief in a just world. In M. R. Leary & R. H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of individual differences in social behavior (pp. 288–297). New York: Guilford Publications.Google Scholar
  16. Dalbert, C., & Stoeber, J. (2006). The personal belief in a just world and domain-specific beliefs about justice at school and in the family: A longitudinal study with adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 30(3), 200–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fink, B., Neave, N., Brewer, G., & Pawlowski, B. (2007). Variable preferences for sexual dimorphism in stature (SDS): Further evidence for an adjustment in relation to own height. Personality & Individual Differences, 43(8), 2249–2257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gaucher, D., Hafer, C. L., Kay, A. C., & Davidenko, N. (2010). Compensatory rationalizations and the resolution of everyday undeserved outcomes. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(1), 109–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goldenberg, L., & Forgas, J. P. (2012). Can happy mood reduce the just world bias? Affective influences on blaming the victim. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(1), 239–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hafer, C. L., & Bègue, L. (2005). Experimental research on just-world theory: Problems, developments, and future challenges. Psychological Bulletin, 131(1), 128–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hirschberger, G. (2006). Terror management and attributions of blame to innocent victims: Reconciling compassionate and defensive responses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(5), 832–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Judge, T. A., & Cable, D. M. (2004). The effect of physical height on workplace success and income: Preliminary test of a theoretical model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(3), 428–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Judicibus, M. D., & Mccabe, M. P. (2001). Blaming the target of sexual harassment: Impact of gender role, sexist attitudes, and work role. Sex Roles, 44(7–8), 401–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kristiansen, C. M., & Giulietti, R. (1990). Perceptions of wife abuse. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 14(2), 177–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lerner, M. J. (1980). The belief in a just world: A fundamental delusion. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lipkus, I. M., Dalbert, C., & Siegler, I. C. (1996). The importance of distinguishing the belief in a just world for self versus for others: Implications for psychological well-being. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 22(7), 666–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ng, S. P., Korda, R., Clements, M., Latz, I., Bauman, A., Bambrick, H., et al. (2011). Validity of self-reported height and weight and derived body mass index in middle-aged and elderly individuals in Australia. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 35(6), 557–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40(3), 879–891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rees, D. I., Sabia, J. J., & Argys, L. M. (2009). A head above the rest: Height and adolescent psychological well-being. Economics & Human Biology, 7(2), 217–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sohn, K. (2014). Height and happiness in a developing country. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17, 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sun, Q., Lou, L., Lu, J., Wang, X., Zhong, J., Tan, X., et al. (2016). Resource availability hypothesis: Perceived financial and caloric status affect individuals' height preferences for potential partners. International Journal of Psychology, 51(5), 340–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sorokowski, P., & Butovskaya, M. L. (2012). Height preferences in humans may not be universal: Evidence from the Datoga people of Tanzania. Body Image, 9(4), 510–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Townsend, J. M., & Levy, G. D. (1990). Effects of potential partners’ physical attractiveness and socioeconomic status on sexuality and partner selection. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 19(2), 149–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. van Prooijen, J. W., & van den Bos, K. (2009). We blame innocent victims more than I do: Self-construal level moderates responses to just-world threats. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(11), 1528–1539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wu, M. S., Yan, X., Zhou, C., Chen, Y., Li, J., Zhu, Z., et al. (2011). General belief in a just world and resilience: Evidence from a collectivistic culture. European Journal of Personality, 25(6), 431–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wyshak, G. (2014). Height, socioeconomic and subjective well-being factors among U.S. women, ages 49-79. PLoS One, 9(6), e96061.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, School of PhilosophyWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.School of ManagementXiamen UniversityXiamen CityPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

Personalised recommendations