Maguire, E. R., Lowrey-Kinberg, B., & Johnson, D. (2023). The role of anger in mediating the effects of procedural justice and injustice. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 26(4), 796-815.


Research has found that people’s perceptions of the extent to which authority figures behave in a procedurally just (or unjust) manner have powerful effects on a variety of outcomes. Procedural justice has been shown to influence people’s sense of obligation to obey and willingness to cooperate with the law and its agents, as well as people’s willingness to comply with the law and legal authorities. Yet very little research has examined the causal mechanisms through which the perceived fairness of procedures influences these outcomes. One possibility is that procedural injustice may trigger affective responses such as anger, frustration, or fear. In this study, we test the effects of three procedural justice conditions on a variety of outcomes using a laboratory-style experiment that simulates a police traffic stop. At the same time, we test the extent to which the relationships between procedural justice and these outcomes are mediated by people’s self-reported levels of anger. Our findings reveal that the treatment conditions had strong effects on self-reported anger, with the procedural justice condition decreasing anger, and the procedural injustice condition increasing anger. Moreover, the findings reveal that the treatment conditions also exerted indirect effects on all outcomes through anger. Taken together, these findings reinforce the importance of emotion in mediating the effects of procedural justice on a variety of outcomes during intergroup encounters.

Year: 2023
Language: English
Type: Journal article
Topic: Communication, Measurement, Policing, Procedural justice and legitimacy
Methodologies: Cross-sectional model, Experimental design, Measurement model