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The role of objective neighborhood characteristics for the belief in a just world among adolescents

Grant number: 22/07075-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): October 30, 2022
Effective date (End): October 29, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Human Development Psychology
Principal Investigator:Marcos César Alvarez
Grantee:André Vilela Komatsu
Supervisor: Simone Kuehn
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Max Planck Society, Berlin, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:19/09360-6 - Development of attitudes and behavior towards authorities and laws: Latent Transitions Analysis, BP.PD

Abstract

People have a worldview of justice, and this lens helps them make sense of reality and guide expectations for their future. Believe in a Just World (BJW) theory postulates that individuals need to believe that they live in a world where people generally get what they deserve and deserve what they get. In the BJW literature, some studies have assumed a fundamental human need to believe in a just world, while others have found that environmental and social interactions, especially those with parents, teachers, and other authorities, play a decisive role in shaping children's BJW. However, few studies have investigated the role of the physical environment in shaping these beliefs in young people. In this context, the city of São Paulo presents itself as a singular opportunity to investigate the effect of differences in the physical environments of neighborhoods in shaping young people's beliefs in a just world. São Paulo is the largest and richest Brazilian city, but it is also where inequalities are most salient. The 2019 Brazilian Inequality Map shows that life expectancy in Moema (a high-class São Paulo neighborhood) is 81 years, while in Grajaú (a poor one) is 59 years. The high economic and educational disparities and the socio-spatial segregation generates several negative consequences, including lower access to essential services, greater exposure to health risks, greater propensity to violence, and lower chances of social mobility. These discrepancies increase the perception of vulnerability and injustice. Thus, it is expected that adolescents who grow up in neighborhoods with very discrepant socio-environmental conditions have a different view of justice in the world. Therefore, the present study will use data from the São Paulo Legal Socialization Study (SPLSS) to test the hypothesis that the physical environment shapes adolescents' perception of justice, keeping under control relational variables such as interaction with parents, teachers, and the police. (AU)

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