On the relationship between social distance and threat
We investigated the dependence of threat perception and reaction on social distance estimation. Social identity threat was imposed within a 2x2 between subjects design, with N=163 students reading a criticising comment about their ingroup assigned to originate from one of two possible outgroups. The participants completed parts of the scale Overlap of self, ingroup and outgroup (OSIO, Schubert and Otten, 2002) as a measure of social distance either before or after the threat manipulation. Results show significantly differing social distance estimations as a reaction towards the threatening comment depending on the criticising outgroup. The implications of these findings and the possibility of social distancing being another kind of defensive mechanism towards social identity threat are discussed.
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