How much does your identity matter? An experimental study of multiple group identities and stress.

Rebecca King (2010). How much does your identity matter? An experimental study of multiple group identities and stress. Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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RebeccaKingPSYC4071Thesis2010.pdf Copy of Rebecca King's BPsySc Honours Thesis application/pdf 531.53KB 43
Author Rebecca King
Thesis Title How much does your identity matter? An experimental study of multiple group identities and stress.
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Jetten, Jolanda
Total pages 61
Abstract/Summary Research has established that social connectedness and belongingness to multiple groups is good for our mental and physical health. In particular, it has been found that the more groups we identify with, the better our overall well-being. However, research has failed to identify exactly what aspects of group membership are driving this relationship. It has been argued that groups give us social support, information and friendship, but they also provide something more fundamental, a social identity. An experimental study was conducted to examine whether multiple group identities alone would be enough to reduce physiological (heart rate, skin conductance) and psychological stress (self-reported stress appraisals) on an upcoming stressful task. Sixty undergraduate participants were randomly allocated to one, three or five minimal groups (i.e., meaningless group identities such as belonging to the group under-estimators) after which they were asked to give a public speech. According to social identity theory it was predicted that participants who were given five identities would be less stressed than those given three, and those given three identities would be less stressed than those participants given one identity. This hypothesis was not supported however, and physiological and psychological stress responses did not differ across conditions. Even though a null result has to be interpreted with caution, discussion focuses on why having meaningless multiple identities is not enough to produce beneficial well-being effects. Results suggest that groups need to provide something more meaningful than membership per se.

 
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Created: Wed, 06 Apr 2011, 15:20:52 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology