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Being angry for different reasons: the role of personality in distributive justice


  • This work was partly supported by GOA/05/04 from the Research Fund of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jeroen Stouten, University of Leuven, Department of Psychology, Tiensestraat 102 box 3725, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. E-mail:


The present research examines personality predictors of anger in response to unfavorable and favorable outcomes with regard to violations of the distributive justice principle of equality. Two studies showed that feelings of anger in response to equality violations were related to neuroticism and agreeableness, albeit for different reasons. Depending on whether the equality violation was favorable or not, anger could be predicted by either feelings of threat or guilt for neuroticism and perceptions of responsibility for agreeableness. These findings add to the literature on boundary conditions of justice and reveal how core personality dimensions contribute to emotional reactions in distributively unjust situations, even if the outcome is personally favorable.

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