British Journal of Social Psychology

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The sigh of the oppressed: The palliative effects of ideology are stronger for people living in highly unequal neighbourhoods

Ideologies that legitimize status hierarchies are associated with increased well‐being. However, which ideologies have ‘palliative effects’, why they have these effects, and whether these effects extend to low‐status groups remain unresolved issues. This study aimed to address these issues by testing the effects of the ideology of Symbolic Prejudice on well‐being among low‐ and high‐status ethnic groups (4,519 Europeans and 1,091 Māori) nested within 1,437 regions in New Zealand. Results showed that Symbolic Prejudice predicted increased well‐being for both groups, but that this relationship was stronger for those living in highly unequal neighbourhoods. This suggests that it is precisely those who have the strongest need to justify inequality that accrue the most psychological benefit from subscribing to legitimizing ideologies.

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