Sense of justice in school and civic behavior

Nura Resh, Clara Sabbagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adult citizenship requires a gradual acquisition of political culture—knowledge, attitudes, skills and patterns of behavior necessary to engage in political action. This is especially the case in democratic societies, which are based on citizens’ participation. Hence, education for citizenship is uniformly considered as a major mission of the common school, along with its central task of imparting knowledge. In this paper we add to the abundant empirical work on the contributing factors to and behavioral consequences of civic education, focusing on the role of the students’ sense of justice in school. We refine previous approaches by distinguishing among three dimensions of the sense of justice, two pertaining to the distributive, and one to the procedural justice. We investigate the effects of these dimensions on four kinds of civic behavior relevant to school life: academic dishonesty, violence, extracurricular activity in school and community volunteering. The study was carried out among about 5000 Israeli middle school students (8th and 9th grades). Findings suggest that, overall, students who perceive their teachers as just tend to refrain from violence and to engage to a greater extent in extra-curricular school activity and community volunteering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-409
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Psychology of Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Civic behavior
  • Israel
  • Procedural justice
  • School
  • Sense of distributive justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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