Dispositional and situational attributions for why the rich live longer than the poor

Bridger, Emma K. and Hewett, Angela and Comerford, David A. (2023) Dispositional and situational attributions for why the rich live longer than the poor. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. ISSN 0021-9029

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Despite considerable focus on predictors of attitudes towards economic inequality, there is less psychological research into attitudes towards other unequal outcomes between the rich and poor, including differences in health and life expectancy. Two studies examine whether causal attributions for these socioeconomic health inequalities predict attitudes towards them. A cross-sectional study of 332 UK and US respondents showed that most respondents indicate a preference for some degree of income inequality but no life expectancy inequality between the richest and poorest in society. These preferences for equal life expectancy for the rich and poor were significantly less likely for respondents who viewed health inequalities to be caused by dispositional factors (e.g., self-control, ability or effort). In a second pre-registered cross-sectional study (n = 602), dispositional attributions negatively predicted self-reported concern about health inequality, whilst endorsing situational attributions (e.g., discrimination and prejudice, wages) was positively associated with concerns on this issue. Moreover, situational attributions positively predicted support for six policy proposals for reducing health inequality, while dispositional attributions were associated with increased support for some of these interventions and decreased support for others. Despite very distinct distribution preferences for income and life expectancy outcomes, causal attributions continue to predict attitudes towards health inequality and associated policy interventions.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12955
19 December 2022Accepted
5 January 2023Published Online
Subjects: CAH04 - psychology > CAH04-01 - psychology > CAH04-01-02 - applied psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Psychology
Depositing User: Emma Bridger
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2023 13:05
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2023 13:05
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14060

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