Do Injustice and Mortality Salience Impact Secondary Victimization Through the Need to Believe in a Just World?

Sean M. Laurent, Jun Yeob Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to just-world theory, people need to believe in a just world (NBJW). Theoretically, exposures to injustice and confronting mortality threaten this belief, prompting attempts to restore it. Past research has found that victimization of innocents and mortality salience prompts observers to engage in secondary victimization (e.g., blaming or derogating victims and underestimating their suffering). Theoretically, secondary victimization helps restore perceptions that the world is just. To test whether NBJW might explain these effects, three experiments conceptually replicated prior work relying on this process explanation. Although our goal was to test whether NBJW could be measured and might explain why secondary victimization occurs, we failed to find any substantive effects of exposure to injustice or mortality salience on secondary victimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
Journalbasic and applied social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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