On the nature of identity fusion: Insights into the construct and a new measure

Gomez, Angel, Brooks, Matthew L., Buhrmester, Michael D., Vazquez, Alexandra, Jetten, Jolanda and Swann, William B. (2011) On the nature of identity fusion: Insights into the construct and a new measure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100 5: 918-933. doi:10.1037/a0022642

Author Gomez, Angel
Brooks, Matthew L.
Buhrmester, Michael D.
Vazquez, Alexandra
Jetten, Jolanda
Swann, William B.
Title On the nature of identity fusion: Insights into the construct and a new measure
Journal name Journal of Personality and Social Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-3514
Publication date 2011-05-01
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/a0022642
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 100
Issue 5
Start page 918
End page 933
Total pages 16
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher American Psychological Association
Language eng
Subject 3207 Social Psychology
3312 Sociology and Political Science
Abstract Previous research has documented the consequences of feeling fused with a group; here we examine the nature of identity fusion. Specifically, we sought to determine what fusion is and the mediating mechanisms that lead fused individuals to make extraordinary sacrifices for their group. Guided by the assumption that fusion emphasizes the extent to which people develop relational ties to the group, we developed a measure designed to capture feelings of connectedness and reciprocal strength with the group. In 10 studies, the newly developed scale displayed predicted relationships with related measures, including an earlier (pictorial) measure of fusion and a measure of group identification. Also as expected, fusion scores were independent of several measures of personality and identity. Moreover, the scale predicted endorsement of extreme progroup behaviors with greater fidelity than did an earlier pictorial measure of identity fusion, which was, in turn, superior to a measure of group identification. Earlier evidence that the personal and social selves of fused persons are functionally equivalent was replicated, and it was shown that feelings of agency and invulnerability mediated the effects of fusion on extreme behavior. Finally, Spanish- and English-language versions of the verbal fusion scale showed similar factor structure as well as evidence of convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity in samples of Spaniards and Americans, as well as immigrants from 22 different countries. This work advances a new perspective on the interplay between social and personal identity.
Keyword Identity fusion
Social identity
Group identification
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online before print February 28 2011

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Tue, 20 Mar 2012, 05:46:14 EST by Mrs Alison Pike on behalf of School of Psychology