Monday, March 15, 2010

iPost: What type of people support the death penalty

Scott VollumContact Information and Jacqueline Buffington-VollumContact Information
(1) Department of Justice Studies, James Madison University, Moody 117, MSC 1205, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, USA
(2) Department of Justice Studies, James Madison University, Maury 207, MSC 1205, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, USA
Published online: 22 October 2009
This study examines the social-psychological factors of attributional styles, moral disengagement, and the value-expressive function of attitudes in relation to death penalty support and the robustness of that support. Respondents were first asked whether or not they supported the death penalty and were then presented several paragraphs of information exposing flaws or failures in the death penalty and asked how compelling they found the information and whether it impacted their death penalty attitudes. Results suggest that attributional style has little if any effect on death penalty support and that only a few aspects of moral disengagement seem to play a role. Value-expressiveness, on the other hand, appears to play a critical role in death penalty attitudes and support. Our findings suggest that when support is based on value-expressive foundations, it is more robust and unlikely to wane regardless of information or knowledge indicating problems with the death penalty.
Keywords  Death penalty - Death penalty attitudes - Capital punishment - Moral disengagement - Value expressive attitudes

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