Functions of group identification: an exploratory analysis

Aharpour, Sabina and Brown, Rupert (2002) Functions of group identification: an exploratory analysis. International Review of Social Psychology, 15 (3-4). pp. 157-186. ISSN 0992-986X

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According to Social Identity Theory (SIT), identification with a social group is mainly motivated by the need for positive self-esteem. The present study questions this pervasive role of self-esteem by looking at alternative psychological functions of group identification. Members of 4 different social groups (102 trade unionists, aged 20-63 yrs old; 127 football supporters, 14-55 yrs old; 125 English psychology undergraduates, aged 17-21 yrs; and 133 Japanese university students, 18-29 yrs) responded to an instrument measuring 12 different functions of group identification and then provided measures of ingroup favoritism. Results show that the groups typically emphasized different functions of social identification, some of which were quite distinct from the self-esteem motive postulated by SIT. Moreover, group identification was a significant predictor of ingroup favoring attitudes only in those groups where identification had mainly an interdependence or utilitarian function. The causal direction of the relationship between different functions and group identification, and the mediating role of group identification between functions and intergroup attitudes were tested using structural equation models. Possible explanations and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Rupert Brown
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:47
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2013 10:50
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