Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009 Jan;96(1):183-202. doi: 10.1037/a0013068.

Working for the self or working for the group: how self- versus group affirmation affects collective behavior in low-status groups.

Author information

Institute for Psychological Research, Social and Organizational Psychology Unit, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Experiencing social identity threat can lead members of stigmatized groups to protect their self-regard by withdrawing from domains that are associated with higher status groups. Four experiments examined how providing identity affirmation in alternative domains affects performance motivation in status-defining domains among stigmatized group members. Two forms of identity affirmation were distinguished: self-affirmation, which enhances personal identity, and group affirmation, which enhances social identity. The results showed that although self- and group affirmation both induce high performance motivation, they do so in different ways. Whereas self-affirmation induces a focus on the personal self, group affirmation induces a focus on the social self (Study 1). Accordingly, group affirmation elicited high performance motivation among highly identified group members (Studies 1 and 2) by inducing challenge (Study 2) and protected interest in group-serving behaviors that improve collective status (Studies 3 and 4). By contrast, low identifiers were challenged and motivated to perform well only after self-affirmation (Studies 1 and 2) and reported an even stronger inclination to work for themselves at the expense of the group when offered group affirmation (Studies 3 and 4).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for American Psychological Association
    Loading ...
    Support Center