Psychological Sense of Community Among Treatment Analogue Group Members1


  • Bruce E. Compas

    1. University of California, Los Angeles
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      Requests for reprints should be sent to Bruce E. Compas, Fernald, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

  • 1

    This paper is based on a doctoral dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctoral degree. The author wishes to express particular thanks to Howard S. Adelman for his uidance and encouragement,


The present study investigated the construct of psychological sense of community among individuals in a treatment analogue context. Specifically, sense of community among group members was examined as a function of three variables which have received extensive attention in the experimental social psychology literature and are central characteristics of many treatment settings: (a) perceived similarity with others in a group, (b) perceived freedom of choice in selecting a group, and (c) salience of membership in a category or group. As hypothesized, a main effect was found for valence of perceived similarity, with greater sense of community among those with a positive as contrasted to a negative shared characteristic. The hypothesized main effect for perceived freedom of choice received partial support, with greater sense of community among individuals high in perceived choice. The hypothesized salience by perceived similarity interaction also received partial support. In the high choice condition, high salience decreased sense of community among respondents sharing a negative attribute.