Testing the social identity relative deprivation (SIRD) model of social change: The political rise of Scottish nationalism


Peter R. Grant, Psychology Department, University of Saskatchewan, 9 Campus Drive, Saskatoon SK, S7N 5A5, Canada (e-mail: peter.grant@usask.ca), or Dominic Abrams, Centre for the Study of Group Processes, Department of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NP, UK (e-mail: D.Abrams@kent.ac.uk). Both authors made equal contributions to this paper and share senior authorship. Earlier versions of this research were presented at the July 2009 EASP meeting held in Groningen, The Netherlands on ‘Collective Action and Social Change’ and at the EAESP General Meeting in Budapest, 1990.


We tested a social-identity relative deprivation (SIRD) model predicting Scottish nationalist beliefs and intention to vote for the separatist Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP). Data were from a survey of a large and representative sample of Scottish teenagers administered in the late 1980s. The SIRD model distinguishes effects of group-based and personal relative deprivation, which should be independent of one another. Importantly, social change beliefs should mediate the effects of both collective relative deprivation and group identification on protest intentions (in this case intention to vote for the SNP). Egoistic relative deprivation should be the strongest predictor of feelings of depression. Using structural equation modelling, the results strongly support this model and replicate in two different cohorts.