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Keywords:

  • independent self-construal;
  • ingroup favouritism;
  • interdependent self-construal;
  • threat to self-esteem

The present study examined the hypothesis that in situations that threaten self-esteem, people with independent self-construal show more ingroup favouritism, whereas people with interdependent self-construal do not. Using a minimal group paradigm, consistent with the hypothesis, the results showed that self-construal and threats to self-esteem have an interactive effect on ingroup favouritism. Individuals with independent self-construal showed more ingroup favouritism when their self-esteem was threatened than when it was not threatened, whereas individuals with interdependent self-construal exhibited less ingroup favouritism when their self-esteem was threatened than when it was not threatened. These findings suggest that independent/interdependent self-construal moderates the use of ingroup favouritism for maintaining and enhancing self-evaluation.