Date of Award

8-2008

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Scott Eidelman

Second Committee Member

Shannon McCoy

Third Committee Member

Shawn Ell

Abstract

Definitions of political ideology consistently associate liberalism with progress and openness to change and conservatism with tradition and resistance to change. Research on regulatory focus finds that promotion focus is related to openness to change, while prevention focus is related to resistance to change. I therefore hypothesized that promotion focus should predict political liberalism, and prevention focus should predict political conservatism. This hypothesis was tested in a single study. Regulatory focus, political ideology, and political attitudes were measured, and three hypotheses were tested with correlation and regression analyses. Findings suggest that relatively stronger promotion focus predicts liberal attitudes. Relatively stronger prevention focus predicted conservative ideology, but only predicted conservative attitudes among participants who did not identify as extremely conservative in ideology. Limitations of the study are considered, as are possible directions for future research.

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