Self-Affirmation and Intergroup Relations: The Role of Inter-Individual Differences and the Normative Context

Theoretical notes
By Constantina Badea

In this article, we examine the factors that can influence the effectiveness of interventions based on self-affirmation theory in reducing negative intergroup attitudes towards minorities with an immigrant background. A distinction is made between self-affirmation accomplished through reflection on values important to the individual, and group-affirmation achieved through the recall of values important to the in-group. We present empirical studies showing that the beneficial effect of self-affirmation on reducing prejudice against immigrants is moderated by individual differences such as the participants’ political orientation or their inclination towards individualism versus collectivism. On the other hand, the effect of group-affirmation on reducing prejudice may be hindered by the inegalitarian normative context in which the intervention is implemented. Limitations and future research are discussed.

  • self-affirmation
  • intergroup relations
  • norms
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