To belong or not to belong, that is the question: Terror management and identification with gender and ethnicity

Jamie Arndt, Jeff Schimel, Jeff L Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski, Sheldon Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

142 Scopus citations


The terror management prediction that reminders of death motivate in-group identification assumes people view their identifications positively. However, when the in-group is framed negatively, mortality salience should lead to disidentification. Study 1 found that mortality salience increased women's perceived similarity to other women except under gender-based stereotype threat. In Study 2, mortality salience and a negative ethnic prime led Hispanic as well as Anglo participants to derogate paintings attributed to Hispanic (but not Anglo-American) aritsts. Study 3 added a neutral prime condition and used a more direct measure of psychological distancing. Mortality salience and the negative prime led Hispanic participants to view themselves as especially different from a fellow Hispanic. Implications for understanding in-group derogation and disidentification are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-43
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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