Group-Based Dominance and Opposition to Equality as Independent Predictors of Self-Esteem, Ethnocentrism, and Social Policy: Attitudes Among African Americans and European Americans

By John T. JostErik P. Thompson
1999| Working Paper No. 1567

Adopting a multidimensional approach to the measurement and conceptualization of “social dominance orientation” (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth, and Malle, 1994), we argue for the existence of two related ideological factors, one that measures general opposition to equality (OEQ), and another that measures support for group-based dominance (GBD). Because of status differences between European and African Americans, it was hypothesized that the two factors would be differentially related to each other and to variables of psychological well-being, research participants, we found that:

  1. A correlated two-factor solution of the 16-item SDP scale provided a better comparative fit than a one-factor solution;
  2. The two factors were more highly inter-correlated for European American than for African American respondents;
  3. OEQ was related negatively to self-esteem and ethnocentrism for African Americans, but was related positively to self-esteem and ethnocentrism for European Americans;
  4. GBD related positively to ethnocentrism for both groups;
  5. Attitudes towards conservative social policy and affirmative action were predicted more by OEQ than by GBD for both groups;
  6. The relation between OEQ and neuroticism was positive for African Americans but negative for European Americans, whereas the relation between GBD and neuroticism was positive for European Americans but negative for African Americans; and
  7. Economic system justification was related to OEQ but not GBD, and it also predicted political conservatism and racial attitudes.