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Introduction and Aim Group identification describes our sense of belonging to the group and of commonality with other ingroup members. Research has shown.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction and Aim Group identification describes our sense of belonging to the group and of commonality with other ingroup members. Research has shown."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction and Aim Group identification describes our sense of belonging to the group and of commonality with other ingroup members. Research has shown that strong group identification promotes compliance with group norms (rules), as well as encouraging a predisposition to like and cooperate with fellow ingroup members. Greater identification with a single ingroup and with multiple ingroups has been shown to be associated with better health outcomes. This is probably because group identification increases the likelihood of receiving support from other ingroup members, thereby reducing levels of stress. Group identification might also affect our health-related behaviours in various ways. First, since there is a positive relationship between group identification and adherence to group norms, strong group identification implies a greater tendency to comply with health-related group norms (e.g., drinking, smoking, eating, and exercise behaviours). Second, stronger group identification may produce a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life, thereby increasing the likelihood of group members taking care of themselves by behaving healthily. Third, greater group identification may enhance one’s motivation to stay healthy in order to contribute to the group’s aims and goals, Our aim is to investigate the prediction that group identification is positively associated with healthy behaviour. Specifically, we hypothesise that the more groups with which one identifies, the healthier one’s behaviour is likely to be. This effect should be independent from the amount of contact one has with other ingroup members: it is a sense of identification that is predicted to be key. Method This study is based on the Scottish portion of the data obtained for Wave 1 of the two- wave Health in Groups project. Five General Practitioner (GP) surgeries situated throughout Scotland posted participation invitations to all their adult patients for whom the study was deemed suitable. Interest in participating was expressed by returning a reply slip included with the invitation, and 2508 patients did so. These patients were sent a Wave 1 questionnaire, which was completed and returned by 1824 patients (henceforth participants; 771 males, 1053 females). Questionnaire Measures -We validated our own four-item measure of group identification, and then used this measure to assess participants’ identification with their family, community, and a third group of their choice. We created a variable called number of group identifications (predictor variable), which ranged from 0 (participant does not identify with any of the three groups) to 3 (participant identifies with all three groups). -We also measured the extent of participants’ contact with other members of each of the three groups, and created a variable called number of contact-intensive groups, which ranged from 0 (participant does not have intensive contact with any of the three groups) to 3 (participant has intensive contact with all three groups). -We measured health behaviour, including whether or not each participant smokes, drinks heavily, consumes at least three portions of fruit/vegetables per day, and exercises at least once per week. -Finally, we recorded some demographic variables: age, gender, whether or not the participant had education above high school. and whether or not they are in a relationship of any kind. Discussion As predicted, we found that the greater the number of groups with which one identifies, the lower the odds that one smokes and drinks heavily, and the greater the odds that one exercises and eats healthily. These effects were found to be statistically significant even after taking into account the number of groups with which one has intensive contact, relationship status, level of education, gender, and age. Although some health behaviours may have been affected more strongly by one of the covariates than by the number of group identifications (e.g., education was the strongest predictor of healthy diet, and gender was the strongest predictor of heavy drinking), number of group identifications was the only predictor that exerted statistically significant effects on all four of the health behaviours considered. Furthermore, one’s number of contact- intensive groups was a much weaker predictor of health behaviours than one’s number of group identifications. These findings might justify a reconsideration of results obtained from social epidemiological and sociological research showing that social ties (operationalised mainly in terms of amount of contact with groups and networks) lead to more positive health behaviours. Our results confirm that groups are not only a context for social interaction, but are often objects of intense psychological investment. The more groups we identify with, the healthier our behaviour. This constitutes a step forward in our understanding of the deep connection between human sociality and health. Greater number of group identifications is associated with healthier behaviour: Evidence from a Scottish community sample Results We began by investigating the health behaviour frequencies (exercise, healthy diet, smoking, and heavy drinking) as a function of number of group identifications. As predicted, the analysis showed that as the number of identifications increased, the proportion of participants behaving healthily also increased. The chi-square value was significant/marginally significant for each health behaviour. The same patterns were found for number of contact- intensive groups, but only for exercise and healthy diet. We then performed four direct binary logistic regressions in order to investigate the effects of six predictors – number of group identifications, number of contact- intensive groups, level of education, relationship status, age, and gender – on exercise, healthy diet, smoking, and heavy drinking respectively. As predicted, number of group identifications was the strongest predictor of exercising, with every additional group identification increasing the odds of exercising. Furthermore, a greater number of group identifications predicted greater odds of having a healthy diet, lower odds of smoking, and lower odds of drinking heavily. These results were obtained even after controlling for the other variables. Fabio Sani a, Vishnu Madhok a, Michael Norbury b, Pat Dugard a, & Juliet R. H. Wakefield a a University of Dundee, Dundee, UK. b Craigmillar Medical Group, Edinburgh, UK.Published in: British Journal of Health Psychology, For More Information: Prof. Fabio Sani:


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