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Why are Conservatives Happier than Liberals? Comparing Different Explanations Based on System Justification, Multiple Group Membership, and Positive Adjustment

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European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


The present study examined the relation between conservatism and life satisfaction. Analyses based on data from a representative German survey (ALLBUS 2010) revealed a positive relation between conservatism and self‐reported life satisfaction, thus supporting prior claims of this link. Different accounts have been proposed for this relationship, suggesting system justification, positive adjustment, or multiple group membership as potential mediators. Going beyond prior research, the present study allowed for a comparison between these different mechanisms. Analyses revealed that system justification and one of the three examined constructs related to positive adjustment (i.e., religiosity) were significant mediators of the positive relationship between political conservatism and life satisfaction. Comparable results were obtained after controlling for a number of sociodemographic variables.