Communicating Social Identity A Study of Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland

Owen Hargie, David Dickson, John Mallett, Maurice Stringer

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26 Citations (Scopus)


This article examined communicative aspects of social identity theory in the context of the deeply divided community of Northern Ireland. Self-disclosure was selected for analysis, given its central role in the development of cross-group friendships and related reduction of negative bias towards the outgroup. In view of previous research on factors that mediate the decision to self-disclose to the outgroup, and using the Disclosure Decision Model as a guiding framework, the authors hypothesized that outgroup contact would be a key determinant of disclosure but that contact would be mediated by degree of trust and attraction for the outgroup, as well as by strength of ingroup identification. The findings supported these predictions. The results are discussed both in relation to the importance of communication facets of social identity theory and in light of wider policy implications for cross-group communication in Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)792-821
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Dec 2008


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