Social Identity and Mental Health: Group Membership as a Buffer for Stress in University

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Fee, Corey Johnston Edward




The quality and quantity of one’s social identities may determine whether they benefit from group membership. Study 1 examined whether having multiple identities was related to positive psychological well-being, and whether this was further related to buffering stress. Carleton University undergraduate students (N = 455) completed an online questionnaire assessing depressive and anxiety symptoms, coping style, cognitive flexibility, loneliness, optimism, self-esteem, and quantity of group memberships. Connectedness was related to lower depressive and anxiety symptoms, an increased ability to deal with stressors, and positive self-appraisals. These stress-buffering factors mediated the relationship between connectedness and psychological well-being. Study 2 examined whether certain identities differed in perceived support and identification. Carleton undergraduate students (N = 373) completed an online questionnaire assessing these factors with regard to their primary identity. Significant differences in support and identification were found across identity types that was also related to the relationship between membership and psychological well-being.


Psychology - Social




Carleton University

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