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Title: The development of enemy images, a comparative study on Irish children's levels of national identification, intergroup attitudes and understanding of the concept 'enemy
Author: Gallagher, Elizabeth Frances Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 739X
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2010
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The present research focuses on children in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and examines the development of national identity, intergroup attitudes and the changes that take place concerning ideas about "the enemy" in children, as they grow older and to chart possible environmental influences on this process. The first study assessed the development of national identity in children living in different geographical locations in Ireland using the Strength of Identity Scale. The data were collected from children living in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Protestant and Catholic children from both locations were assessed. A total of 240 participants took part, 148 of the participants resided in Northern Ireland and 92 participants from the Republic of Ireland. All children were age 7 -and -11- years old. Each child was interviewed individually in a quiet room within their school. Consequently, the data allowed us to examine whether there are differences in the development of national identification as a function of age, gender, and children's geographical location within their country. The findings of the first study showed that the degree of national identification can vary as a function of children's geographical location within that country. Children identified with their national identity to a relatively high degree at the age of 7, and there were no subsequent changes in degree of national identification with age. The study found that Catholic participants exhibited greater affect towards national identity, importance and greater pride of national identity in comparison to Protestant participants in both locations. In addition, it was found that younger children are more sensitive to negative comments about their own national identity than older children. The second study assessed children's ingroup-outgroup attitudes using a trait attribution task and a like-dislike affect measure. The same sampling and procedure was used as that in the first study. Data showed that Catholic and Protestant children attributed more positive characteristics to their own in-group than to the out-groups. They also ascribed more negative adjectives to the out-groups than the in-group. Positivity towards out-groups increased with age with older children showing more positivity towards out-groups in comparison to younger children. The third study assessed children's understanding of the concept 'enemy' and how this develops and changes as a function of age using a short interview schedule of eleven questions, a drawing task and a free association task. The same sampling and procedure was used as that in the first study. The study found that older children viewed enemies more positively than younger children, believing they could be friendly and become friends, suggesting older children are more adept at empathy. Younger children however, thought an enemy could not become a friend. The majority of all children believed they were different from an enemy. In terms of age, when asked whether enemies existed individually or within a group, younger children were more likely to perceive enemies as individuals, whereas older children more often perceived enemies as existing in groups.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available