The Relationship Of Forms Of Justice Sensitivity And Values Among Young People


In the article the results of an empirical study of the relationship of forms of sensitivity to justice and values among students (n=125) are represented. The forms of sensitivity were determined with the aid of M. Schmidt's questionnaire, adapted by Nartova-Bochaver and Astanina (2013, 2014) and directed toward the development of sensitivity to justice from the position: “victim”, “observer”, “beneficiary” and “perpetrator”. The Value questionnaire of S. Schwarz, adapted by Karandashov, was used for values` identification (2004). According to the results, the leading values of the group “beneficiaries” are: traditions, reaching and authority (ideals), and also universalism, kindness, reaching (priorities). The predominant values for the group of “observers” are: conformity, authority, kindness and hedonism (ideals), and also independence and authority (priorities). For the group of “perpetrator”: authority, hedonism, independence (ideals), and also achievements (priorities). As the leading values for the group was: conformity, tradition, achievement (ideals), and also achievement, universalism, tradition (priorities). Comprehension and experience of just wrong situations is connected with the prognostic competence, which is expressed in the anticipation justifiability. Probably, the person at a collision with injustice forms the possible scenario forms an exit from a traumatic situation, that can be reflected in prosocial behavior or delinquent.

Keywords: Justice sensitivitybeneficiaryobservervictimanticipation justifiabilityhedonism


In the daily life justice with its manifestations is connected with moral principles, values of man. Satisfaction with life, its prosperity is impossible without a permission of the moral situations of just/wrong nature that is reflected in the emotions and behavior. How many relationships exist, so many questions emerge, such as justice, its search, and establishment.

Problem Statement

M. Lerner in its theory “The belief in a just world” speaks, that people usually get what that they deserve, and deserve what they get, and it means that every person has a need to live justly (Lerner, 1980). At Brockhaus and Efron`s encyclopedia “justice” is defined as one of the highest principles of the mutual relations between people. In the historic dictionary justice is understood as the category of moral-legal and sociopolitical consciousness, idea of due, connected with the historically changing ideas of human rights . In the philosophical dictionary “justice” is explained as general moral sanction of mutual people`s life, examined chiefly from the point of view colliding desires, interests, responsibilities; the method of substantiation and distribution between the individuals of benefits and burdens of their joint existence within the framework of united social space. In the sociological dictionary “justice” is interpreted as an idea of due, containing itself requirement of the correspondence between the practical role of different individuals (social layers, groups) in the life of society and their social position, between their rights and responsibilities, labor and reward, merits and their public acceptance, crime and punishment (Jerey, Jerry, 1999). There are definitions of the phenomenon of justice in other dictionaries, but an unambiguous understanding of justice as a phenomenon, still does not exist. These interpretations designate ideal (standard) forms of interaction in life activity, since these definitions contain general statements about this phenomenon (the principle of mutual relations, the category of consciousness, moral sanction, etc.). The existence and co-existence of many different definitions of this concept is a consequence of the multifacetedness and complexity of the phenomenon (Gayvoronskaya, 2014).

To live justly, in just world – is compliance with laws and regulations, this is order and stability, to some extent predictability of situations. For those who have a strong need for justice, there is a strong motivation for its protection and establishment. Probably, when faced with an unfair situation, a strong belief in a just world contributes to a calm reaction, without strong negative emotions, because, all the same, what is predetermined will happen. If there is no faith in the justice of this world, then justice must be established. The establishment of a more just society is accompanied by cognitive, emotional and behavioral reactions (Lerner, 1977).

Belief in a just world can be predetermined by sensitivity to justice. We believe that sensitivity to justice is a personality trait that reflects an emotional experience (reaction), a manifestation of a fair / unfair situation. Sensitivity to justice is a comprehension (understanding), so, emotional people`s sensitivity to justice will be more expressed. These reactions can be expressed in the form of reflection (discussion) of the event - the reaction of thinking - "stuck", anger, shame, confusion. In fact, it is the experience of a just / unjust situation that is the basis for the manifestation of uniqueness and identity in their life activity, their picture of the world.

The construct "sensitivity" came to psychology from biology and physiology. In biological science, sensitivity is understood as the ability of a human being to perceive the action of stimuli from the external and internal environment. In the physiological aspect, "Sensitivity is the limit of the receptor's susceptibility, after which no excitation will occur" (Duo Peter, 1996).

In psychological science, sensitivity is considered as the capacity for an elementary form of mental reflection - sensation. Leontyev proved that sensitivity is a response to external irritation, expressed in emotion. Sensitivity is the characteristic that is interrelated with the mechanisms of adaptation. These mechanisms are based on reflexes (Leontiev, 1971). The ability to differentiate, discriminate and accurately evaluate is the basis of sensitivity, in particular, sensitivity favors the adaptability and adaptation of the mentality in life. In Western psychology, the studies of "Sensitivity to Justice" are connected with the name of M. Schmitt, who introduced this concept into science, also the research was carried out by Barnet etc. (Schmitt et al., 2009). Schmitt under the sensitivity to justice understands the personality trait, which manifests itself as a readiness to perceive and emotionally react strongly to cases of injustice. The indicators of sensitivity to justice is: the frequency of unjust situations experienced; intensity of emotional reactions to injustice (anger, guilt, shame); stability of thoughts about unfair events; motivation to restore justice (Schmitt et al., 2010).

Schmitt distinguishes four types of sensitivity to justice: from the position of the victim (victim sensitivity), the observer (observer sensitivity), the beneficiary (beneficiary sensitivity) and the perpetrator (perpetrator sensitivity). Characteristics for the position of the victim (victim sensitivity), is stiffness, confinement in traumatic experiences and, consequently, distancing, avoidance of relations with others. Observer sensitivity is characterized by experiences and manifests itself in marginal behavior or as an expression of a protest position in relation to unfair events. The position of the beneficiary sensitivity is characterized by consideration of unfair situations as a result of previous merits, explanation (rationalization) of benefits. The position of the perpetrator is characterized by the use of benefits from unfair situations, the explanation of "his merits" as the restoration of "historical" justice. Each kind of sensitivity to justice expresses relationships that are built up in the course of life activity, such as hostility, distrust, fear (antisocial behavior), and sympathy, assistance and support to those who find themselves in difficult life situations (prosocial behavior) (Mikula, Scherer & Athenstaedt, 1998).

In domestic psychology, the concept of "sensitivity to justice" is presented in the studies of Nartova - Bochaver, Astanina. The full review of theories of the psychology of justice in foreign personology is presented in the works of these authors, theories of faith in a just world and sensitivity to justice are analyzed, methods and methods of investigating the psychology of justice are listed. In studies of these authors it is shown that some types of sensitivity to justice have a negative impact on the person, especially for those who have a sensitivity to the victim's fairness (Nartova-Bochaver & Astanina, 2014).

Research Questions

How do the types of sensitivity to justice and value in young people.

Purpose of the Study

The main objective of this study is to study the correlation of types of sensitivity to justice and values among young people. The appeal to this sample is due to the fact that the psychological characteristics of the study group are mobility, cognitive activity, emotional susceptibility. It is known that the youth age is associated with the crisis period of the formation of the personality, the development of self-consciousness, the formation of the "I" concept, the development of strategies for behavior in the course of life. 125 students of Smolensk and Moscow were enrolled in the study. Subjects aged 18-26 (average age 20 years old), male and female. Statistical differences are insignificant.

Research Methods

In this study, the following methods were used: the questionnaire of the sensitivity to justice of M. Schmitt (adapted by Nartova-Bochaver and Astanina) and the questionnaire of Schwartz values. These methods are aimed at studying the level and types of sensitivity to justice, as well as the identification of values


At the first stage of the study, the subjects were offered a questionnaire by Schmitt (adapted by Nartova-Bochaver and Astanina) to identify the types of sensitivity. As a result, the following data were obtained for the study group:

With the sensitivity of the victim - 28% (35 people).

With the sensitivity of the observer - 20% (25 people)

With the sensitivity of the beneficiary - 16% (20 people)

With the sensitivity of the perpetrator - 36% (45 people).

The predominant sensitivity in this group is the sensitivity of the "perpetrator". Then follows the sensitivity to justice of the "victim". Probably, in situations where fair or unjust dilemmas are resolved, the transition from the "perpetrator" to the "victim" is fast enough, changing. Then follows the sensitivity to the justice of the "observer" and, then , the "beneficiary" group.

Table 1 -
See Full Size >

A high level of unjust situations was experienced in the "victims" group, the average experience of unfair situations was revealed in the group of "perpetrators" and low indicators were revealed in the group of "observers". Prevention of the experience of unfair situations is based on the ability to extrapolate (predict and anticipate) the traumatic impact, the possession of an anticipatory consistency. Thus, each species has its own strategy of getting out of the traumatic experience of experiencing injustice. The use of accumulated individual experiences contributes to the preparation for the following critical situations of an unfair nature.

Further, to study the values, respondents were offered a value questionnaire by Sh. Schwartz. The following data were obtained (average indicators).

Table 2 -
See Full Size >

To confirm differences in indicators of levels, types of degree of sensitivity to justice, as well as differences in values, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used. The value of Asymp. Sig. (Asymptomatic bilateral significance level) is 0.000, indicating that there are significant differences in empirical distributions.

Here were identified the leading values of the representatives of the "beneficiaries" on the criteria of paired samples: traditions, achievement and power (ideals), as well as universalism, kindness, achievement (priorities). For the "beneficiaries" a deformed system of personal meanings is revealed; dissatisfaction with achievements in all life spheres; dissatisfaction with the quality of social relations; prevalence of mechanisms of psychological defense of the first level: denial, splitting, projection; signs of psychological dependence. For "observers" on the criteria of pair sampling, the leading values were: conformity, power, kindness and hedonism (ideals), as well as kindness and authority (priorities). Kindness is manifested in ideals and priorities. Probably, this group of subjects is characterized by positive constructive styles and strategies of coping behavior, problem solving planning, self-control and acceptance of responsibility. For "observers" reveals a reflexive analysis of current situations and the manifestation of the "I" personality, flexibility in communication, effective social interaction. In the group of "violators" on the criteria of pair sampling, the leading values were identified: power, hedonism, independence (ideals), as well as independence, power, achievements (priorities). Values such as power and independence are manifested in both ideals and priorities. For "violators", the experience of a fair / unfair situation is due to their manipulative abilities, manifestations of envy, and maybe jealousy, which can lead to violations in the field of interpersonal contacts, and may increase inadequacy, irritability, contributing to neurotic personality changes. In the group of "victims", according to the criteria of pair sampling, the leading values were : conformity, traditions, achievements (ideals), as well as achievements, universalism, traditions (priorities). Situations of a just or unfair nature cause the effect of learned helplessness and form a pessimistic attributive style (M. Seligman, G. Marcus, T. Higgins) in relation to social situations with their own participation.


In the group with the sensitivity of the "beneficiaries" the leading values are: traditions, achievement and power (ideals), as well as universalism, kindness, achievement (priorities). For a group with the sensitivity of the "observers" justice, the prevailing values are: conformity, power, kindness and hedonism (ideals), as well as independence and power (priorities). In the group of "perpetrators" - the leading values are: power, hedonism, independence (ideals), as well as achievements (priorities). In the group with sensitivity to the justice of the "victims", the leading values were identified: conformity, traditions, achievements (ideals), as well as achievements, universalism, traditions (priorities).

The results of the study reflects: stereotypical solutions to complex life situations of a just or unjust nature, internal and external motivation for self-improvement, real goals and the efforts that the individual uses to achieve them. The comprehension of just unjust situations is connected with prognostic competence, which is expressed in anticipatory solvency, where the psychological defense mechanisms work, namely, displacement, projection, identification, negation, rationalization, reactive formation, regression, substitution, isolation, sublimation. Anticipation consistency in these situations mitigates the uncertainty, anxiety of a fair / unfair situation, and, consequently, the severity of the impact on the individual. Probably, the person is forming a possible scenario of getting out of the traumatic unfair situation, which can be reflected in prosocial behavior or delinquency


  1. Duo Peter (1996). Topical diagnosis in neurology. Anatomy. Physiology. Clinic. Moscow.
  2. Gayvoronskaya A.A. (2014). Social concepts of justice (psychosemantic approach). Psychology and psychotechnics, 12(75):1293-1298.
  3. Jerey, D., Jerry, J. (1999). Justice - A great explanatory sociological dictionary. Moscow, AST, Veche.
  4. Justice - Philosophy: Encyclopedic Dictionary.. Edited by A.A. Ivina. (2004). Spravedlivost-165.html
  5. Leontiev, A.N. (1971). Necessities, motives and emotions, pp. 1, 13-20, 23-28, 35-39.
  6. Lerner ,M. J. (1977). The judicial motive: Some hypotheses as to its origins and forms. Journ. of Personality, 45:1-52.
  7. Lerner, M. J. (1980). A belief in a just world: A fundamental delusion. New York.
  8. Mikula, G., Scherer, K. R., & Athenstaedt, U. (1998). The role of injustice in the elicitation of differential emotional reactions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, P.769-783
  9. Nartova-Bochaver S.K & Astanina N. B. (2013). Sensitivity to justice as a property of the subject: a personal resource or burden, In Person, subject, personality in modern psychology. Proceedings of the international conference dedicated to the 80th anniversary of A.V. Brushlinsky. vol. 3, pp. 574-577.
  10. Nartova-Bochaver, S.K, Astanina, N.B. (2014). Psychological problems of justice in foreign personology: theory and empirical research. Psychological journal, 1:16-32
  11. Schmitt M., Baumert A., Fetchenhauer D., Gollwitzer M., Rothmund R. Schlösser T. (2009). Sensibilität für Ungerechtigkeit. Psychologische Rundschau. 60(1):8-22.
  12. Schmitt M., Baumert A., Gollwitzer M., Maes J. (2010). The Justice Sensitivity Inventory: Factorial validity, location in the personality facet space, demographic pattern, and normative data. Social Justice Research, 23:211-238.

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

13 December 2017

eBook ISBN



Future Academy



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Cognitive theory, educational equipment, educational technology, computer-aided learning (CAL), psycholinguistics

Cite this article as:

Gayvoronskaya, A. A. (2017). The Relationship Of Forms Of Justice Sensitivity And Values Among Young People. In S. B. Malykh, & E. V. Nikulchev (Eds.), Psychology and Education - ICPE 2017, vol 33. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 142-148). Future Academy.