Justice Concerns After School Attacks: Belief in a Just World and Support for Perpetrator Punishment Among Chinese Adults and Adolescents

Michael Shengtao Wu, Adam Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

School attacks against children seriously threaten the belief that the world is a just place, in which good people get rewarded and bad people get punished. However, to what extent and in which way belief in a just world (BJW) plays a role in reaction to school attacks have not been investigated, especially in the Chinese context, in which people are traditionally expected to prize harmony over justice. Two studies examined how Chinese people varying in BJW differ in supporting punishment for the perpetrators of school attacks in China in 2010. In Study 1, general BJW among Chinese adults predicted support for perpetrator punishment, and those who paid more attention to the crime news also reported a higher level of punishment support. Study 2 revealed a similar pattern among Chinese adolescents, whose previously measured higher general BJW predicted increasing support for perpetrator punishment, and this effect was mediated via personal distress. In summary, general just-world belief facilitates punishment support among parents and adolescents in the Chinese context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-237
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Justice Research
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

Keywords

  • Belief in a just world
  • Chinese
  • Crime news
  • Punishment
  • School attack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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