System justification and the defense of committed relationship ideology.

Published

Journal Article

A consequential ideology in Western society is the uncontested belief that a committed relationship is the most important adult relationship and that almost all people want to marry or seriously couple (DePaulo & Morris, 2005). In the present article, we investigated the extent to which the system justification motive may contribute to the adoption of this ideology. In Studies 1 and 2, we examined whether a heightened motive to maintain the status quo would increase defense of committed relationship values. In Study 3, we examined the reverse association, that is, whether a threat to committed relationship ideology would also affect sociopolitical system endorsement. As past research has found that the justification of political systems depends upon how much these systems are perceived as controlling, in Study 4 we tested whether the defense of the system of committed relationships would also increase when framed as controlling. Results from Studies 1-4 were consistent with our hypotheses, but only for men. In Study 5, using cross-cultural data, we sought to replicate these findings correlationally and probe for a cause of the gender effect. Results from more than 33,000 respondents indicated a relationship (for men) between defense of the sociopolitical system and defense of marriage in countries where the traditional advantages of men over women were most threatened. In Studies 6 and 7, we investigated when this gender difference disappears. Results revealed that when we measured (Study 6) or manipulated (Study 7) personal relationship identity rather than relationship ideology, effects also emerge for women.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Day, MV; Kay, AC; Holmes, JG; Napier, JL

Published Date

  • August 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 101 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 291 - 306

PubMed ID

  • 21480736

Pubmed Central ID

  • 21480736

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1315

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3514

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/a0023197

Language

  • eng