Attitudes toward capital punishment: A function of leadership style, gender and personality

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Paul M. Valliant
Carrie Oliver
Cite this article:  Valliant, P., & Oliver, C. (1997). Attitudes toward capital punishment: A function of leadership style, gender and personality. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 25(2), 161-168.


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A survey of attitudes toward capital punishment was undertaken to investigate the opinions upheld by 126 first year male and female university students. Subjects were divided into one of four leadership groups according to their scores on the Leadership Ability Evaluation. A two-way analysis of variance was used to examine subjects' arttitudes toward capital punishment on the basis of gender and leadership style. The Autocratic-Submissive and Autocratic-Aggressive leadership grounds were found to have significantly harsher attitudes towards capital punishment from the Laissey-faire leadership group. No significant gender differences were found for this variable. Evaluation of personality with the California Psychological Survey showed that tolerance and attitude toward capital punishment were significantly correlated. The lower the subject's tolerance, the harsher the attitude toward capital punishment.
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