Data from a large-scale study on emotional experiences in 37 countries were
used to examine correlates of emotion-antecedent events being judged as unfair
or unjust. 2,921 students (mean age 21.8 yrs) reported situations in which they
had experienced joy, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, shame, and guilt, and described
their situation appraisals and reactions. Anger-producing events were most frequently
perceived as very unfair, followed by disgust, sadness, fear, guilt, and shame.
The results showed strong main effects of the perception of injustice for all
negative emotions. Events experienced as unjust were described as more immoral,
more obstructive to plans and goals, and having more negative effects on personal
relationships. In addition, events regarded as unjust elicited feelings that
were longer in duration and more intense. It is concluded that perceived injustice
plays a powerful role in the elicitation of many different negative emotions
and may serve as a mediating variable in emotion-antecedent appraisal.
Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles