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Social identity theory was first developed by Tajfel and Turner in the 1970s.  The theory proposes that part of a person’s concept of self, in other words a person’s sense of who they are, comes from the groups to which that person belongs.  If a person belongs to groups that provide them with stability, meaning, purpose, and direction, then there will be an associated positive impact on their mental health (Haslam et al., 2016).

In this study, we measured neighbourhood identification, which reflects how much a person feels like they belong in their local community. People can belong to many groups, such as sporting teams, work teams, special interest, religious or community groups (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). However, people differ in how much they are committed to a group, in terms of their psychological and subjective sense of connection to it. When a group is particularly important and meaningful to a person, we say that it is part of their social identity (Postmes et. al., 2012).

This month’s online survey utilises five questions measuring psychological distress that are derived from the Distress Questionnaire-5, a short measure aimed at accurately identifying individuals who meet clinical criteria for a variety of common mental disorders, including: major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, adult attention-deficit disorder, PTSD, and OCD (Batterham et. al., 2016).  Social identification was measured with a single question ‘I identify with my neighbourhood’ (Postmes et. al., 2012).

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