Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology, PhD

Program

School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Michael A. Hogg

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

William D. Crano

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Eusebio M. Alvaro

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Thierry Devos

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Zachary P. Hohman

Abstract

Social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) is one of the most influential social psychological theories of group behavior and intergroup relations. Early social identity research focused on many different group processes; however, the motivation behind group identification was not fully explored. Researchers have proposed a variety of accounts for why people join and identify with groups. This dissertation unravels the relationship between, on the one hand, mortality salience, self-related uncertainty and self-esteem, and on the other group identification and ingroup defense. The general hypothesis derived from uncertainty-identity theory (Hogg, 2010) is that uncertainty and not fear of death or pursuit of self-esteem motivate people to identify with and defend their groups, and that identification mediates the relationship between uncertainty and defense of the group. Experiment 1 (N = 112) tested the relationship between uncertainty and self-esteem on defense of the ingroup, with the additional test of the mediating effects of identification with the group between uncertainty and ingroup defense. Results showed that uncertainty and not self-esteem motivate people to identify with a group, to defend their group, and that group defense is mediated by identification. Experiment 2 (N = 112) provided a replication of the typical TMT study, which suggests that self-esteem will buffer the effects of mortality salience on ingroup defense, with the additional test of the mediating effects of identification between mortality salience and defense of one's group. As predicted, mortality salience only increased identification and defense of the group when self-esteem was not enhanced, as well, the interactive effects of mortality salience and self-esteem on defense was mediated by identification. Experiment 3 (N = 294) was a combination of both Experiments 1 and 2 and tested the hypothesis that uncertainty would moderate the relationship between self-esteem and mortality salience on group identification and ingroup defense. Exactly as predicted, only under high uncertainty the typical TMT results are demonstrated. Results across these three experiments demonstrate that self-uncertainty plays a significant role in reactions to mortality salience, and support uncertainty-identity theory's analysis of the role of self-uncertainty in ideological conviction and group behavior.

DOI

10.5642/cguetd/26

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Psychology Commons

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