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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1998 Jan;74(1):80-5.

Group identification and intergroup attitudes: a longitudinal analysis in South Africa.

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  • 1Department, University of Auckland at Tamaki, New Zealand.


Social identity theory (SIT) and realistic conflict theory (RCT) suggest that group identification and out-group negativity will be correlated when intergroup relations involve competition and perceived threat, but the theories differ in their predictions about the direction of causality. The authors assessed Black African students' ethnic group identification and their attitudes toward English Whites, Afrikaans Whites, and Whites in general before and after South Africa's transitional election in April 1994. As predicted, Black African identification was significantly related only to attitudes toward Afrikaans Whites. Longitudinal analyses, however, suggested causal impacts from attitudes to identification and not the reverse, contradicting the SIT prediction. The authors discuss evidence for the existence of two distinct modes of group identification with different implications for intergroup behavior.

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