Generalization of Efficacy as a Function of Collective Action and Intergroup Relations: Involvement in an Anti-Roads Struggle1


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    The authors are grateful to Alex Haslam and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier version of the paper.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to John Drury, Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BNI 9QG, United Kingdom. E-mail:


A questionnaire survey (n= 90) and an interview study (n= 63) of anti-roads activities suggest links between participation and generalization. First, level of activism predicted whether others were perceived as encouraged to act environmentally. Second, participants' failure to stop construction of the road did not prevent them from developing related feelings of efficacy. Participants' perceptions of out-groups were also examined. Participants were least hostile to those they defined as sharing their interests and capable of subjective change; they were most hostile to those seen as betraying the environmental cause. Practically, these findings suggest the importance of collective participation. Theoretically, the paper argues that efficacy theory be developed to acknowledge that identity can be collective as well as individual.