Ingroup identification moderates blame attributions for the COVID-19 crisis, and willingness to help ingroup and outgroup members

Hanna Zagefka, Shaojing Sun

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The present studies focussed on how blame attributions for an existing problem and decisions to help those negatively impacted by it are affected by group membership and social identity considerations. This was investigated in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, asking British nationals about their attributions regarding the pandemic in terms of culpability of the British national ingroup and the Chinese, a national outgroup to the participants. Willingness to help those negatively impacted by the pandemic was also assessed, separately for help offered to ingroup and outgroup members. It was hypothesized that blame attributions and helping decisions would be driven by identity concerns, such that outgroup blame would be stronger than ingroup blame, that ingroup help would be offered more willingly than outgroup help, and that these effects would be especially pronounced for those strongly identified with their national ingroup. Support for the predictions were found in an exploratory online survey of British nationals (N = 250), and in a pre-registered second study (N = 250). Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1221
Number of pages20
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Issue number1
Early online date24 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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