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Comparing social contact and group identification as predictors of mental health


Fabio Sani, School of Psychology, University of Dundee, Park Place, Dundee, Scotland DD1 4HN, UK (e-mail:


Current research on social integration and mental health operationalizes social integration as frequency of interactions and participation in social activities (i.e., social contact). This neglects the subjective dimension of social integration, namely group identification. We present two studies comparing the effect exerted by social contact and group identification on mental health (e.g., depression, stress) across two different groups (family; army unit), demonstrating that group identification predicts mental health better than social contact.