Social norms (not threat) mediate willingness to sacrifice in individuals fused with the nation : Insights from the COVID-19 pandemic

Óscar Vilarroya Oliver, Clara Pretus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Identity fusion with the community has been previously found to mediate altruism in post-disaster settings. However, whether this altruistic response is specifically triggered by ingroup threat, or whether it can also be triggered by global threats remains unclear. We evaluated willingness to sacrifice in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic across three survey waves. Against expectations, participants fused with the nation (vs. non-fused) did not differentially respond to a national versus global threat condition. Conversely, social norms decisively influenced willingness to sacrifice in this sample, with fused individuals with stronger norms about social distancing reporting the highest altruistic response during the first weeks of the pandemic. Longitudinally, after an initial peak in the altruistic response, deteriorating social norms mediated decreases in willingness to sacrifice in individuals fused with the nation (vs. non-fused). Implications of these results for the development of interventions aimed to address global challenges are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-781
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Costly sacrifices
  • COVID-19
  • Identity fusion
  • Prosocial behaviour
  • Social norms

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