Changes in social identities over time: The role of coping and adaptation processes


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Catherine E. Amiot, Département de psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, PQ, Canada H3C 3P8 (e-mail:


The present studies investigated the processes by which group members integrate a new social identity. Based on a newly developed theoretical model, we anticipated that social factors (social support and need satisfaction) would be facilitators of this change process and should have an impact on the coping and adaptation strategies group members use to deal with the membership in a new group. These strategies, in turn, should predict intra-individual changes in level of identification with the new group, which should then predict enhanced psychological adjustment over time. The proposed associations were tested among university students over the course of their first academic year (Study 1) and among on-line gamers joining a newly established on-line community (Study 2). Path analyses provided support for the hypothesized associations. The results are discussed in light of recent theoretical developments pertaining to intra-individual changes in social identities.