Social Identity Theory

Built on the foundations of social identity theory (Tajfel, 1974) and self-categorisation theory (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher and Wetherell, 1987), social cure researchers argue that social identification with a group is an important predictor of positive health outcomes.

This page signposts the reader towards a range of resources on the topic of Social Identity Theory. Within this reading list and resources there is a focus on Social Identity Theory and health and in particular, the use of physical activity in health promotion activities.

Key Texts

Haslam, C., Jetten, J., Cruwys, T., Dingle, G., & Haslam, S. A. (2018). The New Psychology of Health. Unlocking the Social Cure. Routledge.

Haslam, S. A., Fransen, K., & Boen, F. (Eds.). (2020). The New Psychology of Sport and Exercise: The Social Identity Approach. SAGE

Further Reading

Beauchamp, M. R. (2019). Promoting Exercise Adherence Through Groups: A Self-Categorization Theory Perspective. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 47(1), 54-61. doi: 10.1249/JES.000000000000017

Bentley, S. V., Greenaway, K. H., Haslam, S. A., Cruwys, T., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, C., & Cull, B. (2020). Social identity mapping online. Journal of personality and social psychology, 118(2), 213.

Bruner, M. W., Dunlop, W. L., & Beauchamp, M. R. (2014). A social identity perspective on group processes in sport and exercise. In M.R. Beauchamp and M.A. Eys Group dynamics in exercise and sport psychology (2nd Ed.). Routledge. 38-52.

Cameron, J. E., Voth, J., Jaglal, S. B., Guilcher, S. J., Hawker, G., & Salbach, N. M. (2018). “In this together”: Social identification predicts health outcomes (via self-efficacy) in a chronic disease self-management program. Social Science & Medicine, 208, 172-179.

Evans, M. B., McLaren, C., Budziszewski, R., & Gilchrist, J. (2018). When a sense of “we” shapes the sense of “me”: exploring how groups impact running identity and behavior. Self and Identity, 1-20.

Grant, F., Hogg, M. A., & Crano, W. D. (2015). Yes, we can: Physical activity and group identification among healthy adults. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45(7), 383-390.

Greenaway, K. H., Cruwys, T., Haslam, S. A., & Jetten, J. (2016). Social identities promote well‐being because they satisfy global psychological needs. European Journal of Social Psychology, 46(3), 294-307.

Greenaway, K. H., Haslam, S. A., Cruwys, T., Branscombe, N. R., Ysseldyk, R., & Heldreth, C. (2015). From “we” to “me”: Group identification enhances perceived personal control with consequences for health and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(1), 53–74.

Haslam, C., Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., Cruwys, T., & Steffens, N. K. (2021). Life Change, Social Identity, and Health. Annual Review of Psychology, 72, 1–27.

Haslam, C., Cruwys, T., Haslam, S. A., Dingle, G., & Chang, M. X. L. (2016). Groups 4 Health: Evidence that a social-identity intervention that builds and strengthens social group membership improves mental health. Journal of Affective Disorders, 194, 188-195.

Haslam, S. A., Haslam, C., Jetten, J., Cruwys, T., & Bentley, S. (2019). Group life shapes the psychology and biology of health: The case for a sociopsychobiological model. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 13(8), 1–16.

Haslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D., & Reynolds, K. J. (2012). Identity, influence, and change: Rediscovering John Turner's vision for social psychology. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51(2), 201-218.

Haslam, S. A., Haslam, C., Jetten, J., Cruwys, T., & Bentley, S. V. (2020). Rethinking the nature of the person at the heart of the biopsychosocial model: Exploring social changeways not just personal pathways. Social Science & Medicine, 113566.

Häusser, J. A., Junker, N. M., & van Dick, R. (2020). The how and the when of the social cure: A conceptual model of group‐and individual‐level mechanisms linking social identity to health and well‐being. European Journal of Social Psychology, 50(4), 721-732.

Hogg, M. A. (2001). A social identity theory of leadership. Personality and social psychology review, 5(3), 184-200.

Hogg, M. A., & Williams, K. D. (2000). From I to we: Social identity and the collective self. Group dynamics: Theory, research, and practice, 4(1), 81.

Hornsey, M. J. (2008). Social identity theory and self‐categorization theory: A historical review. Social and personality psychology compass, 2(1), 204-222.

Jetten, J., Haslam, C., & Haslam, S.A.(2012). The social cure: Identity, health and well-being. Psychology Press.

Kyprianides, A., Easterbrook, M. J., & Brown, R. (2019). Group identities benefit well-being by satisfying needs. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 84,103836.

Martiny, S. E., Roth, J., Jelenec, P., Steffens, M. C., & Croizet, J. C. (2012). When a new group identity does harm on the spot: Stereotype threat in newly created groups. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42(1), 65-71.

Oyserman, D., Fryberg, S. A., & Yoder, N. (2007). Identity-based motivation and health. Journal of personality and social psychology, 93(6), 1011.

Platow, M. J., Grace, D. M., & Smithson, M. J. (2012). Examining the preconditions for psychological group membership: Perceived social interdependence as the outcome of self-categorization. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3(1), 5-13.

Portman, R. M., Levy, A. R., Mooney, K. M., Whittaker, E. M., & Fairclough, S. J. (2019). Towards an understanding of the social identity approach in exercise referral schemes: A brief commentary. Sport & Exercise Psychology Review, 15(11), 25–30.

Reicher, S. D., Haslam, S. A., & Platow, M. J. (2018). Shared social identity in leadership. Current Opinion in Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.08.006

Reynolds, K. J., Branscombe, N. R., Suba, E., & Willis, L. (2020). Changing Behavior Using Social Identity Processes. In M. Hagger, L. Cameron, K. Hamilton, N. Hankonen, & T. Lintunen (Eds.), The Handbook of Behaviour Change (pp. 225–236).

Salice, A., & Miyazono, K. (2020). Being one of us. Group identification, joint actions, and collective intentionality. Philosophical Psychology, 33(1), 42-63.

Sherif, M. (1936). The psychology of social norms.

Spears, R., Doosje, B., & Ellemers, N. (1999). Commitment and the context of social perception. In N. Ellemers, R. Spears, & B. Doosje (Eds.), Social identity: Context, commitment, content (pp. 59-83). Oxford, England: Blackwell Science.

Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Schuh, S. C., Jetten, J., & van Dick, R. (2017). A meta-analytic review of social identification and health in organizational contexts. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 21(4), 303-335.

Steffens, N. K., Rue, C. J. La, Haslam, C., Walter, Z. C., Munt, K. A., Haslam, S. A., … Tarrant, M. (2019). Social identification-building interventions to improve health : A systematic review and meta- analysis. Health Psychology Review, 0(0), 1–66.

Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Haslam, S. A., Steffens, N. K., & Polman, R. (2018). Leaders promote attendance in sport and exercise sessions by fostering social identity. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 28(9), 2100-2108.

Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., & Polman, R. (2017). A social identity approach to understanding and promoting physical activity. Sports Medicine, 47(10), 1911-1918.

Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., & Polman, R. (2020). Leading us to be active: A two-wave test of relationships between identity leadership, group identification, and attendance. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 9(1), 128.

Stevens, M., Cruwys, T., Rees, T., Haslam, S.A., H., Boen, F., & Fransen, K. (2020). Physical activity. In S.A. Haslam, K. Fransen, & F. Boen (Eds.). The new psychology of sport and exercise: The social identity approach (pp. 167-186). SAGE.

Strachan, S. M., Shields, C. A., Glassford, A., & Beatty, J. (2012). Role and group identity and adjustment to the possibility of running group disbandment. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13(4), 436-443.

Tajfel, H. (1974). Social identity and intergroup behaviour. Information (International Social Science Council), 13(2), 65-93.

Tarrant, M., & Butler, K. (2011). Effects of self‐categorization on orientation towards health. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50(1), 121-139.

Tarrant, M., Haslam, C., Carter, M., Calitri, R., & Haslam, S. (2020). Social Identity Interventions. In M. Hagger, L. Cameron, K. Hamilton, N. Hankonen, & T. Lintunen (Eds.), The Handbook of Behavior Change (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology, pp. 649-660). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Terry, D. J., & Hogg, M. A. (1996). Group norms and the attitude-behavior relationship: A role for group identification. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 22(8), 776-793.

Turner, J.C., Hogg, M.A., Oakes, P.J., Reicher, S.D., Wetherell, M.S. (1987) Rediscovering the Social Group: A Self-Categorization Theory. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell.

Turner, J. C., & Reynolds, K. J. (2011). Self-categorization theory. Handbook of theories in social psychology, 2(1), 399-417.

Wakefield, J. R. H., Bowe, M., Kellezi, B., McNamara, N., & Stevenson, C. (2019). When groups help and when groups harm: Origins, developments, and future directions of the “Social Cure” perspective of group dynamics. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 13(3), 1–13.

Williams, K. D. (2009). Ostracism: A temporal need‐threat model. Advances in experimental social psychology, 41, 275-314.

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