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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002 Mar;82(3):269-82.

Perceiving personal discrimination: the role of group status and legitimizing ideology.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara 93106, USA.


It was hypothesized that relative group status and endorsement of ideologies that legitimize group status differences moderate attributions to discrimination in intergroup encounters. According to the status-legitimacy hypothesis, the more members of low-status groups endorse the ideology of individual mobility, the less likely they are to attribute negative outcomes from higher status group members to discrimination. In contrast, the more members of high-status groups endorse individual mobility, the more likely they are to attribute negative outcomes from lower status group members to discrimination. Results from 3 studies using 2 different methodologies provide support for this hypothesis among members of different high-status (European Americans and men) and low-status (African Americans, Latino Americans, and women) groups.

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