Group-Based Control Restoration

Relke, S. (Leipzig University, Germany), Fritsche, I. (Leipzig University, Germany), Greenaway, K. H. (University of Melbourne)

Social identities can serve as a powerful resource to cope with stress and threatened control. There is empirical evidence that ingroup identification is positively associated with subjective well-being and more recent work suggests that group membership helps to restore a sense of control on a collective level. Integrating both findings, we hypothesised that making a social identity salient would buffer the negative effect of control threat on well-being in the context of health-threatening conditions, e.g., chronic disease. Data from one correlational (N = 60) and one experimental field study (N = 212) supported our assumptions. Perceived loss of personal control following health-related threat was negatively related to well-being (Studies 1 and 2). However, making an important group membership salient increased a sense of global control, and through this, well-being (Study 2). In a series of experimental replication studies using samples of healthy participants (N = 269, N = 352, N = 204, N = 356), we worked on a study design to manipulate both perceived personal control and social identity salience.

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Health and Social Identity