Navigating Stigma and Group Conflict: Group Identification as a Cause and Consequence of Self-Labeling

Jennifer Whitson*, Eric M. Anicich, Cynthia S. Wang, Adam D. Galinsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A crucial element of navigating group conflict is how group members manage stigma imposed on them by other groups. Across three experiments, we propose that group identification is a cause and consequence of self-labeling with stigmatizing group labels, a practice known to reduce stigma. Experiment 1 found that group identification increased self-labeling with a stigmatizing group label. In Experiment 2, individuals who self-labeled with a stigmatizing group label felt more identified with their group, which reduced the label's perceived negativity; they also persisted longer on an in-group helping task, an effect that was partially mediated by group identification. In Experiment 3, observers perceived self-labelers as more identified with their group and as viewing the label less negatively; perceived group identification mediated the relationship. Group identification is a critical component in reappropriating stigmatizing labels and provides insight into how highly identified members can navigate group conflict by negotiating their group's identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-106
Number of pages19
JournalNegotiation and Conflict Management Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2017


  • diversity
  • identity
  • intergroup conflict
  • stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management


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