National identity and in-group/out-group attitudes: Catholic and Protestant children in Northern Ireland

Elizabeth Gallagher, Ed Cairns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated national identity and intergroup attitudes and howstrength of national identity impacts on in-group and out-group attitudes. Thedata were gathered in post-violence Northern Ireland with children aged 7 and11 years of age. A total of 148 children took part (Catholic participants: n ¼ 73and Protestant participants: n ¼ 75). Eight schools were selected, 4 Protestantschools and 4 Catholic schools. Children were individually interviewed in theschool setting. A significant positive correlation between strength of nationalidentity and affect towards the in-group was found for Protestant participants.A significant negative correlation between strength of national identity andaffect towards the traditional enemy was found for Catholic participants. Therewas also evidence of in-group bias, in that both Protestant and Catholicchildren evaluated their own group more positively than the other out-groups.In addition, it was found that younger children are more sensitive to negativecomments about their own national identity than older children. These findingsare discussed in terms of previous findings and theoretical perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-73
JournalEuropean Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2011

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