Advertisement

Social Justice Research

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 23–40 | Cite as

Recalling an Unfair Experience Reduces Adolescents’ Dishonest Behavioral Intentions: The Mediating Role of Justice Sensitivity

  • Ilaria Giovannelli
  • Maria Giuseppina Pacilli
  • Stefano Pagliaro
  • Carlo Tomasetto
  • Manuela Barreto
Article

Abstract

Injustice experiences are likely to have a strong impact on—adolescents' life. However, individuals differ in how they perceive and respond to injustice depending on their justice sensitivity. Whereas several studies analyzed the relationships between justice sensitivity and antisocial behaviors in adult samples, little is known about this relationship among adolescents. The aim of the present experimental study is to expand knowledge on the antecedents and effects of justice sensitivity from the Victim (i.e., JS-Victim) and Others (i.e., JS-Observer, Perpetrator, and Beneficiary) perspective, particularly with regard to its relationship to willingness to act in dishonest behavioral intentions (e.g., stealing money or objects from classmates, teachers, or strangers). The study involved 369 Italian students (52% males; M age = 16.64, SD = 1.78). We examined the role of justice sensitivity in the relationship between the recall of unfair, fair, or neutral episodes, and the consequent willingness to perform dishonest behaviors. Results demonstrate that recalling unfair (vs. fair or neutral) episodes leads to an increase in JS-Others, which in turn decreased willingness to behave dishonestly. Conversely, JS-Victim did not mediate the relationship between the recall of unfair episodes and intentions to behave dishonestly. The present findings suggest that during adolescence JS-Others might act as a protective factor against dishonest behaviors.

Keywords

Injustice-related experiences Justice sensitivity Dishonest behavioral intentions Adolescent 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was made possible due a FIRB 2012 grant from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR; Grant Number RBFR128CR6).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional committee (Ethical Committee of the University of Perugia) and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

References

  1. Adams, J. S. (1965). Inequity in social exchange. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 2, 267–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aquino, K., & Reed, A. (2002). The self-importance of moral identity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1423–1440.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3514.83.6.1423.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Baumert, A., Beierlein, C., Schmitt, M., Kemper, C. J., Kovaleva, A., Liebig, S., et al. (2014). Measuring four perspectives of justice sensitivity with two items each. Journal of Personality Assessment, 96(3), 380–390.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00223891.2013.836526.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Baumert, A., & Schmitt, M. (2009). Justice-sensitive interpretations of ambiguous situations. Australian Journal of Psychology, 61(1), 6–12.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00049530802607597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baumert, A., & Schmitt, M. (2016). Justice sensitivity. In C. Sabbagh & M. Schmitt (Eds.), Handbook of social justice theory and research (pp. 161–180). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baumert, A., Thomas, N., & Schmitt, M. (2012). Justice sensitivity as resource or risk factor of civic engagement. In K. J. Jonas & T. A. Morton (Eds.), The psychology of intervention and engagement following crisis (pp. 19–37). Oxford: Wiley.  https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118347683.ch2.Google Scholar
  7. Bondü, R., & Elsner, B. (2015). Justice sensitivity in childhood and adolescence. Social Development, 24(2), 420–441.  https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bondü, R., & Richter, P. (2016). Linking forms and functions of aggression in adults to justice and rejection sensitivity. Psychology of Violence, 6(2), 292–302.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bondü, R., & Krahé, B. (2015). Links of justice and rejection sensitivity with aggression in childhood and adolescence. Aggressive Behavior, 41(4), 353–368.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.21556.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Chaparro, M. P., Kim, H., Fernández, A., & Malti, T. (2013). The development of children’s sympathy, moral emotion attributions, and moral reasoning in two cultures. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 10(4), 495–509.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17405629.2012.742008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  12. Dar, Y., & Resh, N. (2001). Exploring the multifaceted structure of sense of deprivation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31(1), 63–81.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Faccenda, L., Pantaléon, N., & Reynes, E. (2009). Significant predictors of soccer players’ moral functioning from components of contextual injustice, sensitivity to injustice and moral atmosphere. Social Justice Research, 224, 399–415.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-009-0105-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A. G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 175–191.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Fetchenhauer, D., & Huang, X. (2004). Justice sensitivity and distributive decisions in experimental games. Personality and Individual Differences, 36(5), 1015–1029.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(03)00197-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gollwitzer, M., Rothmund, T., Alt, B., & Jekel, M. (2012). Victim sensitivity and the accuracy of social judgments. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(8), 975–984.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167212440887.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Gollwitzer, M., Rothmund, T., Pfeiffer, A., & Ensenbach, C. (2009). Why and when justice sensitivity leads to pro-and antisocial behavior. Journal of Research in Personality, 43(6), 999–1005.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2009.07.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gollwitzer, M., Schmitt, M., Schalke, R., Maes, J., & Baer, A. (2005). Asymmetrical effects of justice sensitivity perspectives on prosocial and antisocial behavior. Social Justice Research, 18(2), 183–201.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-005-7368-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Greenberg, J. (1988). Equity and workplace status: A field experiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 73, 600–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Greenberg, J. (1993). Stealing in the name of justice: Informational and interpersonal moderators of theft reactions to underpayment inequity. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 54(1), 81–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis. A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hayes, A. F., & Preacher, K. J. (2014). Statistical mediation analysis with a multicategorical independent variable. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 67(3), 451–470.  https://doi.org/10.1111/bmsp.12028.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hoffman, M. L. (2000). Empathy and moral development: Implications for caring and justice. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Horan, S. M., Chory, R. M., & Goodboy, A. K. (2010). Understanding students’ classroom justice experiences and responses. Communication Education, 59(4), 453–474.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2010.487282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Horton, K. (2004). International aid: The fair shares factor. Social Theory and Practice, 30(2), 161–174.  https://doi.org/10.5840/soctheorpract200430212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kastenmüller, A., Greitemeyer, T., Hindocha, N., Tattersall, A. J., & Fischer, P. (2013). Disaster threat and justice sensitivity: A terror management perspective. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43(10), 2100–2106.  https://doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lim, D., & DeSteno, D. (2016). Suffering and compassion: The links among adverse life experiences, empathy, compassion, and prosocial behavior. Emotion, 16(2), 175.  https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000144.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Lotz, S., Schlösser, T., Cain, D. M., & Fetchenauer, D. (2013). The (in)stability of social preferences: Using justice sensitivity to predict when altruism collapses. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 93, 141–148.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2013.07.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lupfer, M. B., Weeks, K. P., Doan, K. A., & Houston, D. A. (2000). Folk conceptions of fairness and unfairness. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30(3), 405–428.  https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(200005/06)30:3<405:AID-EJSP997>3.0.CO;2-U.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mikula, G. (1994). Perspective-related differences in interpretations of injustice by victims and victimizers. A test with close relationships. In M. J. Lerner & G. Mikula (Eds.), Entitlement and the affectional bond (pp. 175–203). New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mohiyeddini, C., & Schmitt, M. J. (1997). Sensitivity to befallen injustice and reactions to unfair treatment in a laboratory situation. Social Justice Research, 10(3), 333–353.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02683307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Moore, C., & Gino, F. (2013). Ethically adrift: How others pull our moral compass from true North, and how we can fix it. Research in Organizational Behavior, 33, 53–77.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.riob.2013.08.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological Science, 8(3), 162–166.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.1997.tb00403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 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.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BRM.40.3.879.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Pretsch, J., Ehrhardt, N., Engl, L., Risch, B., Roth, J., Schumacher, S., et al. (2016). Injustice in school and students’ emotions, well-being, and behavior: A longitudinal study. Social Justice Research, 29(1), 119–138.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-015-0234-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rousseau, V., Salek, S., Aubé, C., & Morin, E. M. (2009). Distributive justice, procedural justice, and psychological distress: The moderating effect of coworker support and work autonomy. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 14(3), 305–317.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015747.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Schmitt, M. (1998). Gerechtigkeit und Solidaritaet im wiedervereinigten Deutschland [Justice and solidarity in the re-united Germany]. In B. Reichle & M. Schmitt (Eds.), Verantwortung, Gerechtigkeit und Moral [Responsibility, justice and morality] (pp. 87–99). Weinheim: Juventa.Google Scholar
  38. Schmitt, M., Baumert, A., Gollwitzer, M., & Maes, J. (2010). The justice sensitivity inventory: Factorial validity, location in the personality facet space, demographic pattern, and normative data. Social Justice Research, 23, 211–238.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-010-0115-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schmitt, M., Gollwitzer, M., Maes, J., & Arbach, D. (2005). Justice sensitivity. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 21(3), 202–211.  https://doi.org/10.1027/1015-5759.21.3.202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schmitt, M. J., & Mohiyeddini, C. (1996). Sensitivity to befallen injustice and reactions to a real-life disadvantage. Social Justice Research, 9(3), 223–238.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02197249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schmitt, M. J., Neumann, R., & Montada, L. (1995). Dispositional sensitivity to befallen injustice. Social Justice Research, 8(4), 385–407.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02334713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schwarzwald, J., Koslowsky, M., & Shalit, B. (1992). A field study of employees’ attitudes and behaviors after promotion decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 511–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Staub, E. (2003). The psychology of good and evil: Why children, adults and groups help and harm others. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Staub, E. (2005). The roots of goodness: The fulfillment of basic human needs and the development of caring, helping and nonaggression, inclusive caring, moral courage, active bystandership, and altruism born of suffering. In G. Carlo & C. Edwards (Eds.), Moral motivation through the life span (pp. 34–72). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  45. Stavrova, O., Schlösser, T., & Baumert, A. (2014). Life satisfaction and job-seeking behavior of the unemployed: The effect of individual differences in justice sensitivity. Applied Psychology, 63(4), 643–670.  https://doi.org/10.1111/apps.12009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Thorkildsen, T. A. (1989). Pluralism in children’s reasoning about social justice. Child Development, 60(4), 965–972.  https://doi.org/10.2307/11311036.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Tyler, T. R. (1990). Why people obey the law: Procedural justice, legitimacy, and compliance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Van den Bos, K. (2003). On the subjective quality of social justice: The role of affect as information in the psychology of justice judgments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(3), 482.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.482.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Van den Bos, K., Vermunt, R., & Wilke, H. A. (1997). Procedural and distributive justice: What is fair depends more on what comes first than on what comes next. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(1), 95.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.72.1.95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Van der Graaff, J., Branie, S., De Wied, M., Hawk, S., Van Lier, P., & Meeus, W. (2014). Perspective taking and empathic concern in adolescence: Gender differences in developmental changes. Developmental Psychology, 50(3), 881–888.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034325.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Vollhardt, J. R., & Staub, E. (2011). Inclusive altruism born of suffering: The relationship between adversity and prosocial attitudes and behavior toward disadvantaged outgroups. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81, 307–315.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-0025.2011.01099.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Warner, R. H., Wohl, M. J. A., & Branscombe, N. R. (2014). When do victim group members feel a moral obligation to help suffering others? European Journal of Social Psychology, 44, 231–241.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wijn, R., & van den Bos, K. (2010). Toward a better understanding of the justice judgment process: The influence of fair and unfair events on state justice sensitivity. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(7), 1294–1301.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zitek, E. M., Jordan, A. H., Monin, B., & Leach, F. R. (2010). Victim entitlement to behave selfishly. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(2), 245–255.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0017168.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Scienze PoliticheUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  2. 2.University of ChietiChietiItaly
  3. 3.University of BolognaCesena (FC)Italy
  4. 4.University of ExeterExeterUK

Personalised recommendations