System Justification and Coronavirus Restrictions Support: the Role of Government Trust and Conspiracy Belief



Objective. Analysis of the relationship between system justification, trust in the government, conspiracy beliefs and coronavirus restrictions. Background. The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has shown that people react differently to the restrictions associated with the coronavirus. In Russia, society is not willing to support restrictions and believes in conspiracy theories in the context of the coronavirus. Study design. The relationship between system justification and supporting coronavirus restrictions was examined. System justification was an independent variable, support for coronavirus restrictions was dependent, trust in the government and conspiracy belief consistently mediated this connection. The presence and nature of the relationship was checked using linear regression. Gender, age, and religiosity were counted as covariates. Participants. The sample consisted of 1677 residents of Russia (66.9% of women, aged 18 to 76, M=31.96, SD=10.96). Measurements. The Russian-language version of the J. Jost system justification scale, questions about trust in the government, attitudes towards coronavirus as a means of limiting freedoms and towards restrictions: closing the country’s borders and banning movement in the city. Results. It was found that there was a direct negative effect of system justification on supporting border closures and travel bans in the city with an indirect positive effect in the models with mediators. Conclusions. System justification can have different effects on supporting coronavirus restrictions.

General Information

Keywords: system justification, conspiracy belief, trust in the government, support for coronavirus restrictions, coronavirus

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The reported study was funded by Russian Science Foundation (RSF), project number 20-18-00142.

Acknowledgements. Authors would like to thank Elena Agadullina for her contribution in the preparation of the article.

For citation: Sarieva I.R., Bogatyreva N.I. System Justification and Coronavirus Restrictions Support: the Role of Government Trust and Conspiracy Belief. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2021. Vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 59–73. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2021120305. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Irena R. Sarieva, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology of Faculty of Social Sciences, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Natalia I. Bogatyreva, Intern researcher in Laboratory for Psychology of Social Inequality, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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