Right-wing authoritarianism, fundamentalism and prejudice revisited: Removing suppression and statistical artefact

Ken Mavor, Cari J. Macleod, Miranda J. Boal, Winnifred R. Louis

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60 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper challenges a finding reported by several researchers, that fundamentalism could be associated with a reduction in racial prejudice after controlling for authoritarianism (RWA). We argue that the presence of fundamentalism in the construct definition of the conventionalism cluster of RWA leads to higher associations between fundamentalism and conventionalism than with other aspects of RWA. This creates a statistical artefact that distorts the results of multiple regression analyses that include both fundamentalism and RWA as independent variables. To test this hypothesis, 299 participants completed measures of prejudice as well as fundamentalism and the three RWA clusters (conventionalism, authoritarian aggression, and submission). In regression analyses using fundamentalism and the combined RWA scale we replicate previous findings that when RWA is controlled, higher fundamentalism leads to lower prejudice. After removing the overlapping method variance in the scales, this pattern is eliminated and the commonly observed positive relationship between fundamentalism and prejudice is found. We describe the statistical artefact, its antecedents, and its theoretical implications, and outline how investigations in this important area should proceed. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-597
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • Right-wing authoritarianism
  • Prejudice
  • Statistical artefact
  • Fundamentalism
  • Attitudes
  • Social-dominance orientation
  • Religiosity
  • Religious fundamentalism


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