Lay causal perceptions of Third World poverty and the Just World Theory

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David J. Harper
Graham F. Wagstaff
J. Tim Newton
Kevin R. Harrison
Cite this article:  Harper, D., Wagstaff, G., Newton, J., & Harrison, K. (1990). Lay causal perceptions of Third World poverty and the Just World Theory. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 18(2), 235-238.


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This study investigated the factor analytic properties of Rubin and Peplau’s (1975) Just World Scale and a questionnaire of possible causes of Third World poverty. Three Just World factors emerged in contrast to Hyland and Dann’s (1987) four-factor solution. They were interpreted as “Pro Just World”, “Anti Just World” and “Cynical or Reserved Just World Belief”. Four poverty factors emerged, interpreted as “Blame the Poor”, “Blame Third World Governments”, “Blame Nature” and “Blame Exploitation”. The most important finding to emerge was that only the “Pro Just World” factor and significantly correlated with blaming the poor. Blaming the poor was significantly correlated with blaming Third World governments.
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