These provide people with a sense of support, connection, meaning and control over their lives.
Belonging to many groups, whatever they are, is linked to higher self-esteem, research finds.
People who are members of things like sports clubs, religious groups, musical organisations or any other type of group, have higher self-worth.
The results were the same for children, the elderly and even homeless people whether they were in China, Australia or the UK.
Groups provide people with a sense of support, connection, meaning and control over their lives.
Other studies have shown that people who belong to more groups are also happier, healthier and live longer.
Professor Jolanda Jetten, the study’s first author, said:
“This is in our view promising and suggests that boosting group memberships is quite a powerful way to make people feel better about themselves.”
The study compared the number of friends people had with the number of groups they were members of.
The number of friends they had did not predict their self-esteem, but the number of groups did.
Professor Jetten said:
“Groups often have rich value and belief systems, and when we identify with groups, these can provide a lens through which we see the world.”
Self-esteem does not just come from within, said Professor Alexander Haslam, study co-author:
“Rather than fetishizing self-esteem, a much better and probably healthier and more effective strategy is to encourage people to have rich social lives and multiple sources of social engagement.
If you do that, one important by-product will be improved self-esteem, but there will be lots of other benefits too.”
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE (Jetten et al., 2015).
Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.
This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.
It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.
I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.