A dual-motive model of scapegoating: displacing blame to reduce guilt or increase control

Author: Rothschild, Z. K., Landau, M. J., Sullivan, D., & Keefer, L. A.

Description: The authors present a model that specifies 2 psychological motives underlying scapegoating, defined as attributing inordinate blame for a negative outcome to a target individual or group, (a) maintaining perceived personal moral value by minimizing feelings of guilt over one’s responsibility for a negative outcome and (b) maintaining perceived personal control by obtaining a clear explanation for a negative outcome that otherwise seems inexplicable. Three studies supported hypotheses derived from this dual-motive model. Framing a negative outcome (environmental destruction or climate change) as caused by one’s own harmful actions (value threat) or unknown sources (control threat) both increased scapegoating, and these effects occurred indirectly through feelings of guilt and perceived personal control, respectively (Study 1), and were differentially moderated by affirmations of moral value and personal control (Study 2). Also, scapegoating in response to value threat versus control threat produced divergent, theoretically specified effects on self-perceptions and behavioral intentions (Study 3).

Subject headings: Adolescent; Adult; Female; Guilt; Humans; Intention; Internal-External Control; Male; Middle Aged; Models; Psychological; Morals; Motivation; Scapegoating; Young Adult

Publication year: 2012

Journal or book title: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Volume: 102

Issue: 6

Pages: 1148–1163

Find the full text: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2012-10977-001

Find more like this one (cited by): https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=2561548619811588293&as_sdt=1000005&sciodt=0,16&hl=en

Type: Journal article

Serial number: 3100

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