Fair-weather or foul-weather friends? Group identification and children's responses to bullying
Manstead, Antony S. R.
Livingstone, Andrew G.
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Jones, S., Manstead, A. S. R. & Livingstone, A. G. (2012) Fair-weather or foul-weather friends? Group identification and children's responses to bullying. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3 (4), pp. 414-420.
Research with adults shows that negative ingroup behavior can affect identification with the group, but also that the way in which members respond to negative events is moderated by prior levels of identification. Research with children shows that how strongly they identify with a group influences how they react to group-level bullying. The authors integrate these findings by examining how a bullying incident affects children’s group identification. Children aged 7–8 and 10–11 years were randomly assigned to either a perpetrator group or a target group. They read a scenario describing a target group member being bullied by members of the perpetrator group. The perpetrator group had a norm of behaving either kindly or unkindly to other children. How strongly children in the perpetrator group identified with their group was influenced by group norm and by initial in-group identification. Identification was higher when the group was normatively kind rather than unkind, but only among children whose initial identification was high.