“Fear of falling”: economic instability enhances collective angst among societies’ wealthy class

Jetten, Jolanda, Mols, Frank, Healy, Nikita and Spears, Russell (2017) “Fear of falling”: economic instability enhances collective angst among societies’ wealthy class. Journal of Social Issues, 73 1: 61-79. doi:10.1111/josi.12204

Author Jetten, Jolanda
Mols, Frank
Healy, Nikita
Spears, Russell
Title “Fear of falling”: economic instability enhances collective angst among societies’ wealthy class
Journal name Journal of Social Issues   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1540-4560
Publication date 2017-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/josi.12204
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 73
Issue 1
Start page 61
End page 79
Total pages 19
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Abstract In 2008, an era of unprecedented growth and prosperity came to an end, and the world was plunged into the Great Recession, a Global Financial Crisis (GFC)—the worst since the 1930s Great Depression. We examined whether it is low- or high-SES people that are most affected psychologically—and most likely to express concern about the future vitality of their group—by uncertainty associated with economic instability. In two experiments, we found that even though those lower in SES report more collective angst than their wealthier counterparts, those who are higher in SES are more likely to become concerned when presented with information that the economy is a bubble about to burst, elevating their collective angst levels. Both studies also showed that collective self-definitions as competent and warm were affected by wealth but not by economic instability. Competence ratings increased with increasing wealth, whereas warmth ratings were lower for those both lower and higher in wealth, compared to those with moderate wealth. In Experiment 2, we also found that opposition to immigration was higher for the high-income group in the unstable than in the stable economic prospect condition. We conclude that even though those lower in income experience chronic collective angst, collective angst levels for those higher in income are elevated when they fear they may be living in a bubble economy—a bubble that may burst any moment.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 6 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 7 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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