Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Procedural fairness enacted by societal actors increases social trust and social acceptance among ethnic minority members through the promotion of sense of societal belonging

Abstract Although procedural fairness has been studied frequently during the past decades, little work has focused explicitly on how procedural fairness affects members of ethnic minorities in the context of multicultural decision‐making processes. The aim of the present study was to investigate how perceptions of procedurally fair treatment of fellow minority members by societal actors impact the individual’s sense of societal belongingness, which we define as the feeling that he/she is a valued member of society at large, and how this in turn is related to social trust and social well‐being. Three samples of African American and Hispanic American respondents from the United States were collected (total N = 570). Two experimental studies and one questionnaire study were conducted. Experimental manipulation of procedural fairness climate was shown to impact sense of societal belongingness among minority members (Study 1), whereas manipulating sense of societal belongingness itself led to an increase in social trust and social acceptance (Study 2). Study 3 (A self‐report survey), finally, affirmed the entire hypothesized mediation model. The present research provides further evidence for the importance of procedural fairness for ethnic minorities. Our research showed that when societal actors enact procedural fairness they may strengthen minority members’ societal belongingness, which in turn may influence their social trust and feelings of being socially accepted.

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