Authoritarianism is good for you: Right-wing authoritarianism as a buffering factor for mental distress



Although common knowledge seems to agree that authoritarianism is ‘bad to the self’, previous studies yielded inconclusive results with respect to the relationship between authoritarianism and mental distress. The present research explores whether the impact of facilitators of mental distress on actual mental distress depends on the level of authoritarianism. Study 1 includes a sample of 132 adults and demonstrated less negative consequences of D-type personality on depression for individuals with high rather than low levels of authoritarianism. Study 2 conducted in a sample of 109 elderly revealed that the effects of negative stressful life events on mental distress were curbed by higher levels of authoritarianism. It is concluded that while previous studies have amply shown that authoritarianism has adverse consequences for other people, these negative effects do not appear to be particularly present for the self. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.