Social identity versus personal identity : an investigation into the interaction of group and personal status with collective and with personal self-esteem on ingroup favouritism

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The positivity of personal and minimal group social identity was manipulated by giving subjects bogus test feedback to induce differential levels of personal status (high, low, no feedback) and group status (high, low, neutral) in 237 13-15 year olds. This investigative experimental study used a MANOVA to explore the main effects and interactions between these factors with personal self-esteem (Rosenberg,1965) and collective self-esteem (Crocker & Luhtanen,1990) on the evaluations of products by (a) the ingroup in comparison with the outgroup, (b) self in comparison with the ingroup and (c) the difference between these self and ingroup favouritism measures. It was found that subjects with high but not low collective self esteem engaged in less ingroup favouritism in comparison to self favouritism when the group made a negative contribution to identity than when it did not. This result was explained through a social identity self-enhancement and self-consistency framework. Males showed more self favouritism than females. This study did not confirm predictions of enhancement theories like Social Identity Theory (I'ajfel & Turner,1979) or research on the nature of self-esteem. Levels of self-esteem, group status and personal status had no significant effects on either self favouritism or ingroup favouritism. A-correlational study on the validity of collective self-esteem found that it was moderately correlated with Jewish identification (R.J.Brown, Condor, Mathews, Wade & Williams,1986) and Gibbons & McCoy's (1990) measures of Negative Affectivity and not correlated with subtle racism (Duckitt,1990,1991a) or Watson, Clark & Tellegen's (1988) measure of Negative Affectivity.

Bibliography: leaves 127-143.