Effects of Social Identity on Self-Esteem

Amiot, C. E., & Sansfaçon, S. (2011). Motivations to identify with social groups: A look at their positive and negative consequences. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 15, 105-127. doi:10.1037/a0023158
This research investigated individuals’ perceptions of why they identify with social groups as well as the positive and negative consequences of strongly associating with a social identity. The overall research conducted three separate studies, but this annotation will focus on the second study, which measured the motivation to identify as a Quebecois, or a resident of Quebec. The self-determined motivations to identify as a Quebecois predicted positive consequences such as a high quality of social identity and patriotism, but also predicted the negative consequence of nationalism. This is an interesting study because it looks into the effects of identifying with a specific real world group and these findings can be applied to similar groups around the world. The researchers mention that it remains to be seen whether a social identity that is deeply rooted in a historical context or in one’s life course can be elicited in a self-determined or non-self-determined form.
Buelow, M. T., Okdie, B. M., Brunell, A. B., & Trost, Z. (2015). Stuck in a moment and you cannot get out of it: The lingering effects of ostracism on cognition and satisfaction of basic needs. Personality and Individual Differences, 76, 39-43. doi:10.1016/j.paid. 2014.11.051
The current research performed by Buelow et al. examined the duration of ostracism’s negative effects on fundamental needs, including belonging, self-esteem, control, and meaningful existence. It also looked into its associated effects on higher-order cognitive abilities, such as decision making, working memory processes, and task persistence. They found that the negative effects of a single ostracism experience can linger and negatively affect both task persistence and performance. The lingering loss of fundamental needs following ostracism may negatively affect tasks that require more cognitive effort because those systems may be occupied recovering from ostracism. This relates to my topic because it looks at how social groups affect self-esteem and this article in particular looks at how this can affect things needed in life, such as higher order thinking. 
Jackson, L. A., Sullivan, L. A., Harnish, R., & Hodge, C. N. (1996). Achieving positive social identity: Social mobility, social creativity, and permeability of group boundaries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 241-254. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.70.2.241
This research examined social mobility and social creativity strategies and how the permeability of group boundaries affected strategy use. The research included three different studies but this annotation will focus on the first. The first study looked into the use of the two strategies examined in negatively distinctive in-groups whose boundaries were impermeable or permeable. They found that membership in a negatively distinctive in-group promoted the use of both social mobility and social creativity strategies to achieve positive social identity. Individuals perceived themselves as less similar to the in- group when it was negatively distinctive than when it was not. However, when membership in a negatively distinctive group is perceived as relatively permanent, individuals achieved positive social identity by both minimizing the in-group’s negative distinctiveness and maximizing favorable comparisons for the in-group on dimensions other than the distinguishing ones. This is important to my topic because even when an individual has his or her needs met of being in a group, they might still not be satisfied because they do not identify with the group they are a part of.
Mussweiler, T., Gabriel, S., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2000). Shifting social identities as a strategy for deflecting threatening social comparisons. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 398-409. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.79.3.398
The current research performed by Mussweiler et al. included three different studies examining shifting social identities to avoid threatening social comparisons. This annotation will focus on the third study, which examined the effectiveness of shifting social identities as a self-protective device. They found that the participants who were allowed to freely shift their social identities felt a greater situational well-being after being exposed to a superior standard. These participants focused on an identity they did not share with the upward standard, thus avoiding the pain that comes with an upward comparison. This article relates to my topic because it focuses on an individual’s self- esteem when they are not satisfied with their current social identity. This article relates to Jackson et al. (1996) because both discuss the dissatisfaction with an individual’s social group and the actions taken in order to feel better about one’s social identity.
Nezlek, J. B., Wesselmann, E. D., Wheeler, L., & Williams, K. D. (2015). Ostracism in everyday life: The effects of ostracism on those who ostracize. The Journal of Social Psychology, 155, 432-451. doi:10.1080/00224545.2015.1062351
This study looked into the effects of ostracism as it occurs in everyday life, specifically with the person who performed the ostracism. Ostracism is defined as the act of excluding and ignoring another person. They found that ostracizing others resulted in decreased feelings of belongingness and an increased sense of control in social situations. Social groups often use ostracism to enforce group norms and to protect the collective group from harmful members. They found that labeling the reasons behind the ostracism was associated with greater self-esteem, increases in meaningful existence, and decreased feelings of being apologetic. These findings in particular relate to Stillman et al. (2009) in the mention of higher levels of loneliness and lower levels of meaning. In addition this article talks about having higher self-esteem when having control over social situations. This relates to social groups and our desires to be a part of them, as well as not allowing others to be a part of our group.
Smith, E. R., Murphy, J., & Coats, S. (1999). Attachment to groups: Theory and management. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 94-110. doi:10.1037
This study looked into attachment on close relationships, specifically using three studies to demonstrate attachment anxiety and avoidance. This annotation will focus on the second study, which was to construct a measure of attachment to social groups and self- esteem. They found that relationship avoidance was strongly correlated with anxiety regarding the overall relationship satisfaction, while attachment anxiety was strongly related to emotional responses to the group as well as low individual self-esteem. This relates to my topic because it shows a direct interaction between social identity in groups and self-esteem. For example, someone who scores low on avoidance and high on attachment anxiety might score fairly high overall on a measure of group identification.
Spoor, J. R., & Schmitt, M. T. (2011). ‘Things are getting better’ isn’t always better: Considering women’s progress affects perceptions of and reactions to contemporary gender inequality. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 33, 24-36. doi:10.1080/01973533.2010.539948
This study looked into the consequences of contemporary intergroup comparisons versus temporal comparisons. The experimenters had participants consider gender inequality either in terms of comparisons highlighting contemporary men’s higher status relative to women (intergroup comparisons) or in terms of comparisons between contemporary women’s current status relative to the status of women in the past (temporal comparisons). They found that temporal comparisons led men to feel threatened and potentially work to protect their privilege. The threat to their identity also threatens their membership to the group, which is why this article is relevant to my topic. Without the ability to identify with a group, an individual is no longer able to feel like a part of that group. The social identity threat thus strengthened the group identification in an attempt to hold onto that identity and the membership.
Stillman, T. F., Baumeister, R. F., Lambert, N. M., Crescioni, A. W., Dewall, C. N., & Fincham, F. D. (2009). Alone and without purpose: Life loses meaning following social exclusion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 686-694. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2009.03.007
This study conducted four individual studies to test the hypothesis that social exclusion decreases the overall perception of meaning in life. This annotation will focus on the fourth study, which looked into individual differences in chronic loneliness. The experimenters wanted to identify the underlying mechanisms between social exclusion and reduced meaning in life. They used one of Baumeister’s tests as a model, including measures of purpose, efficacy, value, and self-worth. The purpose of this study was to address the means by which exclusion reduces meaning. They found that higher levels of loneliness were associated with lower levels of meaning. They also found that social exclusion reduces a sense of meaning by decreasing these four needs. Examples of lower levels of these four needs in everyday life include the perception of being unable to attain desired social interactions and a decreased perception of one’s worth, which in turn leads one to devalue the meaning of his or her existence. This study relates to my topic because it discusses the consequences of the lack of self-esteem when socially excluded.
Tajfel, Henri. (1982). Social psychology of intergroup relations. Annual Review of Psychology, 33, 1-39.
This is a annual literature review that goes over social interactions within groups. However this annotation will focus on social identity and social comparison. The need to preserve or achieve a “positive group distinctiveness” can occur even when there is no explicit conflict or competition between groups. This need to compete allows members to feel like they are protecting, enhancing, preserving, or achieving a positive social identity for the members of the group. The aspect of social comparison ties into Mussweiler et al. (2000) because they both talk about social comparisons and Mussweiler et al. discusses the ability to shift one’s social identity when comparing him or herself to a superior other.
Zadro, L., Boland, C., & Richardson, R. (2006). How long does it last? The persistence of the effects of ostracism in the socially anxious. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 692-697. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2005.10.007
This study performed by Zadro et al. examined the persistence of the detrimental effects of ostracism in high and low socially anxious participants. They found that the highly socially anxious participants recovered their primary needs more slowly as compared to the non-anxious participants. They also found that being ostracized increases the likelihood of interpreting ambiguous situations in a threatened manner. This suggests that the potential costs of being excluded or ignored are so great that our response to any act of exclusion may be automatic and thus not much affected by other variables. This article relates to Buelow et al. (2015) because they both examine different aspects of longer term effects of social ostracism.


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