Perceived Threat, Social Identification, and Psychological Well-Being: The Effects of Political Conflict Exposure

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Abstract

Using data drawn from the adult population in Northern Ireland (N= 1,515), this article examines the relationship between perceived intergroup threat and psychological well-being, taking into consideration the mediating role of social identification and the moderating role of political conflict exposure. Results by and large confirmed our predictions that perceived threat would be directly associated with poorer well-being but would also exert a positive indirect effect on well-being via increased social identification. However, these relationships were dependent on individuals' prior conflict exposure, such that the positive indirect relationship between perceived threat and psychological well-being emerged only for two subpopulations: individuals who had high direct and high indirect exposure to conflict, and individuals who had low direct, but high indirect conflict exposure. No indirect effects emerged for individuals with relatively lower conflict exposure. Results are discussed with regard to their implications for research on the consequences of intergroup threat in political conflict settings and beyond.

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