Social identification moderates the effect of crowd density on safety at the Hajj

Alnabulsi, Hani and Drury, John (2014) Social identification moderates the effect of crowd density on safety at the Hajj. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111 (25). pp. 9091-9096. ISSN 0027-8424

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Crowd safety is a major concern for those attending and managing mass gatherings such as the annual Hajj or pilgrimage to Makkah. One threat to crowd safety at such events is crowd density. However, recent research also suggests that psychological membership of crowds can have positive benefits. We tested the hypothesis that the effect of density on safety might vary depending on whether there is shared social identification in the crowd. We surveyed 1194 pilgrims at the Holy Mosque, Makkah, during the 2012 Hajj. Analysis of the data showed that the negative effect of crowd density on reported safety was moderated by social identification with the crowd. Whereas low identifiers reported reduced safety with greater crowd density, high identifiers reported increased safety with greater crowd density. Mediation analysis suggested that a reason for these moderation effects was the perception that other crowd members were supportive. Differences in reported safety across national groups (Arab countries and Iran compared to the rest) were also explicable in terms of crowd identification and perceived support. These findings support a social identity account of crowd behaviour and offer a novel perspective on crowd safety management.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: crowds; crowd density; Hajj; mass gathering; safety; social identity
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: John Drury
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2014 09:34
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2021 16:30

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
UnsetUnsetMinistry of the Interior, Kingdom of Saudi ArabiaUnset