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Group belongingness and collective action: Effects of need to belong and rejection sensitivity on willingness to participate in protest activities

Journal article
Authors Emma Bäck
H. Bäck
H. M. Knapton
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
Volume 56
Issue 5
Pages 537-544
ISSN 0036-5564
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 537-544
Language en
Keywords Collective action, Personality, Rejection, Social exclusion
Subject categories Psychology


Engaging in political protests are becoming increasingly common, and considering the potential, individual, costs and the low probability of affecting the political outcome, it is necessary to understand the motivations behind such actions. The desire to be part of a social group is deeply rooted in human nature, and previous research proposes that the groups one belongs to may influence the decision to engage in protests. We build on this research and suggest that social exclusion, individual fear of exclusion and need to belong interact in explaining who is likely to become engaged. In two studies, one natural experiment and one lab-experiment, we show that social exclusion increase willingness to participate in protests for individuals high in both rejection sensitivity and need to belong. We conclude that contextual factors, such as exclusion or marginalization should be considered in relation to individual level personality factors when explaining who is likely to become engaged in political protests. These results are important since they suggest that some people engage in politics simply due to social reasons and are less ideologically motivated. © 2015 Scandinavian Psychological Associations and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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