Social worldviews and social attitudes: Examining the psychological correlates for other-concern
Social inequality or inequity is existent in every society. As such, most societies dedicate efforts to ensuring fairness and justice for all its members. The university environment constitutes a miniature society on its own and everyday broader realities of the larger society are equally applicable within the university. The attitude that students hold with regards to social inequality could be a function of their worldviews which act as guiding principles for social conduct. In this study, the worldviews of self-transcendence and just-world beliefs were examined in relation to support for affirmative action and social dominance orientation among students. The study employed a survey approach with data collected through questionnaires from a sample of 331 (62.8% female) undergraduate students in a public university. The authors hypothesized that self-transcendence and just-world beliefs would be positively associated with support for affirmative action and negatively with social dominance orientation. Result of data analysis using structural equation modelling confirmed the hypotheses in this study. However, the relationship between just-world beliefs and social dominance orientation was not significant. Results were discussed for their implications for acceptance of social policies that try to bridge the gap between dominant and marginalised groups. The implication of findings for understanding and managing interaction between groups in an educational setting were emphasised. Recommendations were made regarding how policy makers can use knowledge of worldviews held by student in designing strategies geared towards acceptance of policies targeted at ensuring positive outcomes for members of disadvantaged groups. Suggestions for future research were given.
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