Skip to main content

The role of self-esteem in intergroup behaviour

Andreopoulou, Alexia (1999) The role of self-esteem in intergroup behaviour. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94173) (KAR id:94173)

PDF (Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of this thesis enables read aloud functionality of the text.)
Language: English

Download this file
[thumbnail of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of this thesis enables read aloud functionality of the text.]
Official URL:


The aim of this thesis was to explore ways of testing social identity theory’s (Tajfel & Turner 1979) “self-esteem hypothesis”. Abrams and Hogg (1988) identified two corollaries of the self-­esteem hypothesis. The first is that successful intergroup discrimination enhances social identity and thus elevates self-esteem. The second suggests that, because of a motivational need for positive self-esteem, low self-esteem will motivate intergroup discrimination. The self-esteem hypothesis is one the most controversial issues of social identity theory in terms of the diverse findings obtained from studies conducted in this area. The empirical evidence remains equivocal for either corollary. In this thesis it was argued that the lack of firm empirical support for the self-esteem hypothesis may be due to misunderstandings related to design, measurement of self-esteem, and type of groups employed. This thesis examined these issues and studies were conducted to address them. Laboratory and real group studies were conducted. It was found that even when issues related to design, measurement, and type of groups were taken into consideration, there were additional factors which play an important role in testing the self­-esteem hypothesis. There was support for corollary two of the self-esteem hypothesis when real groups were employed and intergroup discrimination was operationalised as outgroup derogation and not as ingroup bias. Corollary one was supported when intergroup evaluations had an important outcome for the group and when the attributes of intergroup evaluations were positive. The implications of the findings of this thesis are discussed in the context of social identity theory and avenues for future research are suggested.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Houston, Diane M.
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94173
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Social identity; Low self-esteem
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2022 15:45 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2023 08:54 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.