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More positive group memberships are associated with greater resilience in Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel

White, CA and Slater, MJ and Turner, MJ and Barker, JB (2020) More positive group memberships are associated with greater resilience in Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel. British Journal of Social Psychology. ISSN 0144-6665

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Abstract

© 2020 The Authors. British Journal of Social Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society In the current project, we examined how perceived group memberships (number, and characteristics, of), social and relational identification, and social identity leadership are associated with resilience in Royal Air Force (RAF) personnel. Based on social identity theorizing, we hypothesized positive associations between the number of groups, perceptions of their characteristics (e.g., positivity), and how they relate to each other (i.e., compatibility) and resilience (H1). We also hypothesized positive associations between both social identity leadership (H2) and resilience, and social and relational identification (H3) and resilience. Two hundred and forty-three personnel from 18 RAF bases completed an identity mapping exercise and measures of leadership, social and relational identification, and resilience. Our findings highlighted the importance of the association between positive group memberships and resilience, and social identification and resilience. Counter to our hypothesis, belonging to more groups was negatively associated with resilience, and there were non-significant relationships between three principles of social identity leadership and resilience, with embedding identity being significantly negatively associated with resilience. In support of social identity theorizing, the number of positive groups was positively associated with resilience, as was social identification. These findings indicate that, for RAF personnel, it is belonging to positive groups, both within and outside work, along with social identification, that is positively associated with resilience.

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