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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 Jul;95(1):144-65. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.95.1.144.

Group-level self-definition and self-investment: a hierarchical (multicomponent) model of in-group identification.

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Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.


Recent research shows individuals' identification with in-groups to be psychologically important and socially consequential. However, there is little agreement about how identification should be conceptualized or measured. On the basis of previous work, the authors identified 5 specific components of in-group identification and offered a hierarchical 2-dimensional model within which these components are organized. Studies 1 and 2 used confirmatory factor analysis to validate the proposed model of self-definition (individual self-stereotyping, in-group homogeneity) and self-investment (solidarity, satisfaction, and centrality) dimensions, across 3 different group identities. Studies 3 and 4 demonstrated the construct validity of the 5 components by examining their (concurrent) correlations with established measures of in-group identification. Studies 5-7 demonstrated the predictive and discriminant validity of the 5 components by examining their (prospective) prediction of individuals' orientation to, and emotions about, real intergroup relations. Together, these studies illustrate the conceptual and empirical value of a hierarchical multicomponent model of in-group identification.

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