Just world beliefs, perceived stress, and health behavior: The impact of a procedurally just world

Todd Lucas, Sheldon Alexander, Ira Firestone, James M. Lebreton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Recent research suggests that a just world view may promote good health while low belief in a just world may deleteriously affect well-being. However, this research is limited in that specific components of justice beliefs that are important to health are not well articulated. Additionally, many potential pathways linking perceived fairness to physical health remain largely unexplored. In the present study, we examined how individual differences in both distributive (outcomes and allocations) and procedural (rules and processes) just world beliefs are associated with stress and health behavior. Participants were recruited from two universities (N = 426) to complete individual differences measures of procedural and distributive just world beliefs, and also measures of perceived stress, health behavior, and physical symptoms. Results suggested that procedural, but not distributive just world views were important to well-being. In particular, belief in a procedurally just world was associated directly with lower perceived stress, and also indirectly with adaptive health behaviors and fewer physical health complaints. In general, these results suggest that beliefs about a procedurally just world may be particularly important to well-being, while also suggesting specific directions and mechanisms for future attempts at developing justice-oriented health interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-865
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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