A trouble shared is a trouble halved: The role of family identification and identification with humankind in well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic

Svenja Frenzel, Nina M. Junker, Lorenzo Avanzi, Aidos Bolatov, Alexander Haslam, Jan A. Häusser, Ronit Kark, Ines Meyer, Andreas Mojzisch, Lucas Monzani, Stephen Reicher, Adil Samekin, Valerie A. Schury, Nik Steffens, Liliya Sultanova, Llewellyn Ellardus van Zyl, Rolf van Dick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered feelings of health-related anxiety in ways that undermine peoples’ mental and physical health. Based on the Social Identity Approach, we argue that feeling socially connected is a resource that is not only characterized by direct social interactions, but also includes a symbolic sense of
togetherness. Focusing on two domains of social connectedness, we tested how identification with one’s family and identification with humankind relate to stress and physical symptoms while experiencing healthrelated anxiety for oneself, other social groups and being exposed to COVID-19. We tested our assumptions
in a two-wave study with a 4-week time lag and in a representative sample (N = 963). The results show that anxiety at Time 1 was positively related to stress and physical symptoms at Time 2. Feeling exposed to COVID-19 related to lower physical health, but was unrelated to stress. Family identification and identification with humankind were negatively associated with stress. However, only family identification was negatively associated with physical symptoms. In order to be beneficial for the mental health, group memberships do not have to contain frequent social interactions as identification with humankind might primarily relate to well-being due to feeling psychologically embedded in some larger collective
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
VolumeXX
Issue numberXX
Publication statusSubmitted - 1 Jan 2021

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