Benefits of membership: The activation and amplification of group identities in response to social rejection

Megan L. Knowles, Wendi L. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

Groups vary in the range of benefits they provide to members, but one potential benefit of membership is a confirmation of individuals' sense of belonging to a larger social whole. The current studies present an exploration of this potential benefit by examining the activation and amplification of group identities and memberships following rejection. Results demonstrate that rejected participants exhibited heightened activation of group constructs, social identities, and idiosyncratic group memberships (Studies 1 and 2) and judged their own groups to be more entitative (meaningful and cohesive) than other groups (Study 3) as compared to controls. Moreover, heightened activation of group constructs and entitative group memberships after rejection was associated with higher self-esteem (Studies 1 and 2) and more positive mood (Study 4). The potential use of group identity activation and amplification as an indirect belonging regulation strategy is discussed within the context of a broader belonging regulation model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1213
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume34
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008

Keywords

  • Belonging
  • Entitativity
  • Group membership
  • Social identity
  • Social rejection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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