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Title: Comparisons and deprivation in ethnic minority settings
Author: Zagefka, Hanna
ISNI:       0000 0001 2452 1845
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2004
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This research is concerned with comparison choices and deprivation in ethnic minority settings. Predictions were derived mainly from Social Comparison Theory, Relative Deprivation Theory (RDT), Social Identity Theory (SIT), and Stigma Theory. A primary research question concerned which reference targets (out of a multitude of possibilities) members of ethnic minorities and majorities compare themselves with in order to assess their personal economic situation, and that of their ingroup. Antecedents of comparison choices were explored (Similarity, Contact, Acculturation Strategies, Comparison Motives, Permeability of group boundaries and perceived Stability of the social stratifications). Further issues concerned the conditions under which feelings of relative deprivation arise, and what some of the consequences of relative deprivation are (e.g. Self-esteem, Life-satisfaction, and subjective Importance attributed to 'being well- off'). Particular attention was paid to a) the (SIT-based) prediction that ingroup identification affects comparison choices, b) the (RDT-based) prediction comparisons affect feelings of relative deprivation, c) the (Stigma-Theory-based) prediction that threatening, upward comparisons with others who are better off will be avoided, and d) the relationship between identification and deprivation, which has repeatedly and justly been identified in the literature as in need of further clarification. The following studies were conducted to speak to these issues: Four cross-sectional surveys (N = 235 ethnic minority members in the UK; N = 166 ethnic minority and 351 majority members in Germany; N = 317 ethnic majority members in Germany; and N = 166 ethnic minority and 116 majority members in Germany), one longitudinal survey (N = 118 ethnic minority members in the UK), and two experiments (N = 76 Italians and 111 Italians in Italy, respectively). Inter alia, consistent evidence was yielded that members of both minorities and majorities prefer intragroup comparisons (with other ingroup members) and temporal comparisons (with themselves in the past) over all kinds of intergroup comparisons; that ingroup identification is positively related to comparisons with intragroup and temporal (but not intergroup) targets; and that identification and deprivation are negatively related. Evidence for the RDT prediction that comparisons inform feelings of deprivation and for the Stigma/Self-protection prediction that threatening upward comparisons are avoided was comparatively weak. Several moderation and mediation hypotheses were proposed and tested to explain this state of affairs. It is considered how - in the light of the present data - existing theories might benefit from certain revisions, and further important research topics that stem from the present work are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: BF Psychology