Educational privilege: The role of school context in the development just world beliefs among Brazilian adolescents

Authors:
Kendra J. Thomas, Patricia H. Napolitano
Published Online:
19 Aug 2016
DOI:
10.1002/ijop.12382
Volume/Issue No:
Early View Articles

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The purpose of this study is to understand the development of Brazilian adolescents' justice perceptions across different contexts of educational privilege. Past research has found that, in adolescence, the belief in a just world (BJW) differentiates between personal and general and declines. However, prior research has not included adolescents from various socioeconomic statuses, samples in Latin America, or focused on the role of the educational context on the developmental trajectory. Participants were 385 adolescents from 3 schools (private, public and military) in Southern Brazil between 9th and 11th grade. Students completed the personal and general BJW survey. Results revealed a significant interaction of school and grade level of adolescents' personal BJW. Contrary to previous research, personal and general BJW was not always lower in higher grades. Among privileged educational contexts, data indicated that personal BJW may even increase, with the decrease notable in the lower resourced school. In contrast, general BJW was relatively consistent across all Brazilian adolescents. Results provide important insight into the role that privilege and education play across adolescents' development of BJW. This research questions the generalizability of previous studies on the development of BJW and indicates that the trajectory may be dependent upon educational and cultural context.

© 2016 International Union of Psychological Science