Are all conservatives alike? A study of the psychological correlates of cultural and economic conservatism.
ABSTRACT The author addresses the question of whether cultural and economic conservatism differ among American citizens in their relation to measures of epistemic beliefs and motives, dogmatism, death-related anxiety, and the tendency to exhibit dogmatic aggression against those who hold beliefs and values that diverge from one's own. Data from this study suggest that these types of conservative attitudes exhibit different correlational patterns with the aforementioned measures. Research participants who held more culturally conservative attitudes were more likely to score higher on measures of the belief that knowledge is certain, dogmatism, need to evaluate, and fear of death. They also scored lower on need for cognition than did their less conservative counterparts. Moreover, participants who scored higher on cultural conservatism were more likely to exhibit dogmatic aggression. Economic conservatism was largely unrelated to measures of epistemic beliefs and motives, fear of death, dogmatism, and aggressiveness. Ancillary regression analyses revealed that belief that knowledge is certain and dogmatism were the strongest predictors of cultural conservatism. Cultural conservatism, fear of death, and need for structure were significant predictors of dogmatic aggression.
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ABSTRACT: The present study explores the influence of need for closure as well as authoritarian submission (Right-Wing Authoritarianism [RWA]) and authoritarian dominance (Social Dominance Orientation [SDO]) on the genesis of conservative beliefs and racism. For this purpose, two structural equation models were compared. In Model 1, RWA and SDO were entered as independent variables and the need for closure facets Decisiveness and Need for Simple Structure acted as mediator variables. In Model 2, the need for closure facets served as independent variables and RWA and SDO acted as mediators. In two student samples (Sample 1, N = 399, Sample 2, N = 330) and one adult sample (Sample 3, N = 379), Model 2 showed superior fit to the data. These results corroborate the hypothesis that authoritarianism should be interpreted in terms of generalized beliefs rather than in terms of personality characteristics. In addition, analyses show that the effects of Need for Simple Structure on conservative beliefs and racism are fully mediated by RWA but only partly by SDO. These results suggest a differential genesis of RWA and SDO.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 08/2004; 30(7):824-37. · 2.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Three studies are conducted to assess the uncertainty- threat model of political conservatism, which posits that psychological needs to manage uncertainty and threat are associated with political orientation. Results from structural equation models provide consistent support for the hypothesis that uncertainty avoidance (e.g., need for order, intolerance of ambiguity, and lack of openness to experience) and threat management (e.g., death anxiety, system threat, and perceptions of a dangerous world) each contributes independently to conservatism (vs. liberalism). No support is obtained for alternative models, which predict that uncertainty and threat management are associated with ideological extremism or extreme forms of conservatism only. Study 3 also reveals that resistance to change fully mediates the association between uncertainty avoidance and conservatism, whereas opposition to equality partially mediates the association between threat and conservatism. Implications for understanding the epistemic and existential bases of political orientation are discussed.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 08/2007; 33(7):989-1007. · 2.22 Impact Factor