Volume 60, Issue 2 p. 470-489
Original Article

Lacking socio-economic status reduces subjective well-being through perceptions of meta-dehumanization

Mario Sainz

Mario Sainz

School of Psychology, University of Monterrey, San Pedro Garza García, Mexico

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Rocío Martínez

Corresponding Author

Rocío Martínez

Department of Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Granada, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to Rocío Martínez, Department of Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Universidad de Granada, Spain (email: [email protected]).

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Miguel Moya

Miguel Moya

Department of Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Granada, Spain

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Rosa Rodríguez-Bailón

Rosa Rodríguez-Bailón

Department of Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Granada, Spain

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Jeroen Vaes

Jeroen Vaes

Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Italy

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First published: 28 August 2020
Citations: 34

Abstract

Previous research has identified that both low- and high-socio-economic groups tend to be dehumanized. However, groups that have a deprived position are more willing to interiorize the negative perceptions that others have about them compared with affluent groups. In this project, we address the role of meta-(de)humanization (the perceived humanity one thinks is ascribed or denied to one’s group) based on socio-economic status differences and its influence in the perceived psychological well-being. We conducted two studies: In Study 1 (correlational, N = 990), we analysed the relationship between socio-economic status, meta-dehumanization, and well-being. Results indicated that lower socio-economic status positively predicted more meta-dehumanization and worse well-being. Moreover, meta-dehumanization mediated the relationship between socio-economic status and well-being. In Study 2 (experimental, N = 354), we manipulated socio-economic status (low-, middle-, and high-socio-economic status conditions) to evaluate its influence on meta-dehumanization and well-being. Results indicated that individuals of low (vs. higher)-socio-economic status perceived more meta-dehumanization and reported worse well-being. Finally, a multicategorical mediational analysis indicated that low (vs. middle or high)-socio-economic status led to worse well-being through higher perceived meta-dehumanization. We discuss differences in perceived meta-(de)humanization based on groups’ socio-economic status and implications on the population’s well-being.

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Data availability statement

All data and Appendix S1 are available online (https://osf.io/cxyd5/).