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J Soc Psychol. 2019 Mar 14:1-14. doi: 10.1080/00224545.2019.1586637. [Epub ahead of print]

In search of an imaginary enemy: Catholic collective narcissism and the endorsement of gender conspiracy beliefs.

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a Polish Academy of Sciences.
b University of Kent.
c University of Warsaw.


Gender studies have often been criticized for undermining family and religious values. In this paper, we argue that these criticisms exhibit the characteristics of conspiracy theories. We define gender conspiracy beliefs as convictions that gender studies and gender-equality activists represent an ideology secretly designed to harm traditional values and social arrangements. In two studies conducted among Catholics in Poland (Study 1 N= 1019; Study 2 N= 223), we examined the prevalence of gender conspiracy beliefs and their psychological concomitants. We hypothesized that gender conspiracy beliefs should be associated with a defensive identification with one's religious group, captured by religious collective narcissism. In both studies, Catholic collective narcissism was demonstrated to be a robust predictor of gender conspiracy beliefs. We additionally demonstrated that Catholic collective narcissism predicted outgroup hostility, and this effect was mediated by gender conspiracy beliefs. We discuss the implications for gender-based prejudice.


Collective narcissism; conspiracy beliefs; outgroup hostility; religiosity

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