Although psychological science has documented individual and situational factors that affect the process of system justification, the temporal dimension of system justification has not been systematically examined. This study used the 2016 U.S. presidential election as a naturalistic setting in which to test for the existence of a temporal dimension. We propose that the potential for a Clinton victory represented a system threat for individuals who supported traditional gender roles, and the approaching election provided a mechanism for measuring the effect of the temporal proximity of the system-threatening event. The results show that gender role ideology played a substantial role in decision-making during the 2016 election, and they support the existence of a temporal dimension of system justification. Participants who began the study with a stronger gender-system justification motive exhibited greater changes in their psychological responses to Clinton over time and greater sensitivity to the temporal proximity of the election.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The 2016 Center for the Study of Political Psychology (CSPP) National Panel Election Survey (NPES) was conducted with administrative and financial support from the Center for the Study of Political Psychology at the University of Minnesota. The authors thank Matt Motta for his assistance in coordinating and administering the study.
© 2018 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
- gender roles
- separate spheres ideology
- system justification
- vote choice