Social identity reduces depression by fostering positive attributions.

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The purpose of this paper is to condemn the Social Identity article by encouraging optimistic attributions, which reduces depression. (Cruwys, T., South, E. I., Greenaway, K. H., & Haslam, S. A., & Haslam, S. A. The article (Social Identification decreases distress through encouraging positive attributions) was written by (2015). What exactly do social identities do psychologically that makes them so protective of mental health? The research question' '(Cruwys, 2015), is discussed in the report. Four hypotheses were tested numbering 1 to 4 addressing: social identity association with reduced depression, social identity association with positive attributes, positive attribution styles association with reduced depression and a decrease in depressive attributions mediate the protective effect of social identity on depression.( Cruwys, 2015) A lack of clarity on the reason as to why social identities and connectedness are crucial to mental heath as well as depression prevention; necessitated the undertaking of this research.

The author presented a well-balanced summary of current knowledge of how social identity reduces depression by fostering positive attributions. We mentality is paramount in the reduction of depression. There is a growing recognition that identification with social groups can protect and enhance health and well-being, thereby constituting a kind os ‘social cure’ ( Greenaway 2014 )


The research involved two research designs both experimental and non-experimental, thus it was divided into two studies namely study one and study two. study one focus was on non-experimental design while study two was experimental whereby the participants were conditioned into a state of failure.

Study 1

The approach used was quantitative employing the use of surveys particularly questionnaires. The quantitative approach is used to test the hypothesis, give out a statistical view on the research subject matter and also used to make generalisations( ).

Surveys were the primary data collection method where various scales and types of questionnaires were used. The Exeter identity transition scale was used to gauge participant involvement in multiple groups(Cruwys, 2015). Depressive attribution questionnaire was mainly used to gauge depressive attribution style. The centre of epidemiological studies depression scale was employed to measure and assess current depression levels of the participants

The study used a sample of 139 participants from four different universities with a mean age of 23.93. Out of the participants, 115 were of female gender while 29 were male.The participants were final fourth-year students in the process of completing a major thesis in psychology(Cruwys, 2015 ). No apparent assumptions were made in study 1.

Study 2

Study 2 was mainly experimental employing identity manipulation techniques, failure paradigm and failure manipulation checks. Identity manipulation check was used to assess the impact of the identity manipulation(Cruwys, 2015 ). After the tests, the current mood of the participant was tested using a positive and negative affect scale. A history of depression was also tested.

The sample comprised of 88 individuals who were undergraduate psychology students with a mean age was 19.72. out of the 88 participants, 55 were female while 33 male. The procedure followed was appropriate involving the identification of an appropriate sample first that had undergone a stressful period, followed by administration of questioners. Other survey methods such personal interviews and focus groups should have been used so as to observe personal cues.

This particular study made an assumption that negative mood equals depression. Negative mood was used as an analogue of depression because it was not feasible to alter an individual’s depression symptoms in an experimental context(Cruwys, 2015 ).

The procedures followed were appropriate for this study. The researchers first identified a target group who were then randomly assigned to one of the three conditions and identity salience was manipulated between subjects(Cruwys, 2015), after which a problem-solving task administered with each participants failing. The positive and negative affect scale was the employed. The sampling method was random hence the possibility of any bias eliminated.

Ethical Aspects

Basic ethical considerations were meet. Firstly, the guarantee of confidentiality has been met. There is no mention of names of participants or the name of the universities from which the participants came from. There is no way of identifying the respondents and thus confidentiality was meet, however, the article does not state if there was informed consent especially on study two. The participants were willing this was especially seen in study 1 as no one was forced into filling out the questionnaires and into conducting the survey.

Some unethical issues did arise especially in study two that involve manipulation which eventually leads to four participants to be excluded from the research study. Experimentation on human beings is not a fully effective design due to the numerous ethical concerns one being the aspect that human beings are equated to ‘lab rats’.The manipulation could be regarded as foul play.The excluded participants indicated strong suspicion regarding the veracity of their failure feedback.(Cruwys, 2015) thus they suspected foul play which itself is highly unethical.

Summary of results

The results were reported in an orderly organized manner including statistical figures such as tables.In study 1, the surveys revealed that the average level of depression was high M=18. The results aimed to prove the hypotheses of study one.

Hypothesis one stated that social identity would be associated with reduced depression. The results supported this whereby participants who were members of multiple groups had low depression scores, Participants with a low number of group membership, had high depression score thereby meeting the criteria for depression. Other studies suggest that company and friends reduce depression and a lack of the afro mentioned leads to depression(Tegan 2014). The results prove this statement.

Hypothesis 2: Social identity would be associated with reduced depression. Multiple group membership was proved to promote positive attributes. Participants who had multiple group membership had lower depression symptoms. This proved hypothesis 2.

Hypothesis 3 and 4; positive attribution styles would be associated with depression and a decrease in depressive attributions will mediate the protective effect of social identity on depression.Positive attributions have been provided to protect the protective effect of group memberships(Cruwys 2015), this is seen in the obtained results. Study 2, the failure paradigm was successful as participants gave a 1,27 on performance, the manipulation check was successful as well.

Discussion and conclusion

The conclusion drawn is that social identity reduces depression as well as the risk of depression. This is due to the fact that belonging to groups makes individuals feel good it restructures how people understand the world and in particular how they interpret failure( Cruwys 2015). This is drawn from the results since individuals with a large number of group membership had low chances of depression while those with a few number of group membership had high chances of depression. The conclusion goes ahead to suggest the use of clinical medicine in the treatment of depression should be supplemented with the use of fostering and creating a meaningful social connection. the author's view is that fostering social connections is more fruitful in treating depression that clinical methods as this, not only saves on the cost of treatment but also its effectiveness has been proven by numerous studies.

The study was highly efficient with the use of two designs making the overall study outcome concrete. Study one used a non-experimental approach with the use of surveys and questionnaires. The advantages of non-experimental approach are: It is a cost effective approach. As seen in the study only surveys and questionnaires were used which are significantly cost effective. Its ethical standard is higher than experimental. The disadvantages of this approach include a lack of validity since there is no way to fully prove the genuineness of the respondents' answers.

Study 2 employed the experimental design whereby there was a control as well as the experiment. The strengths of experimental design include: It has a relatively high level of control, this is seen in the study whereby the researchers were able to manipulate the respondents' mood so as to see which group was prone to getting a bad mood which equated to depression. Experimental design also has a concise conclusion(Otwombe 2014) as seen from the study whereby individuals with a past history of depression and individuals with a few number of social groups connection were at a high risk of depression. Experimental design also reduces threats to validity.

It however as some limitations firstly pointing its ethical challenges. As seen in the study, four participants were excluded from the study since they had a suspicion about their failure results. This manipulation is unethical and risky since it may lead to failure of the experiment if all participants feel manipulated and raise concern.

Work cited

Cruwys, T., South, E. I., Greenaway, K. H., & Haslam, S. A. (2015). Social identity reduces depression by fostering positive attributions. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6(1), 65-74. doi:10.1177/1948550614543309

Gail D. Caruth(2013). Demystifying Mixed Methods Research Design: A Review of the Literature. Mevlana International Journal of Education (MIJE) Vol. 3(2), pp. 112-122

Greenaway, Katharine H.; Haslam, S. Alexander; Cruwys, Tegan; Branscombe, Nyla R.; Ysseldyk (2015) From “we” to “me”: Group identification enhances perceived personal control with consequences for health and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 109(1),

Otwombe KN, Petzold M, Martinson N, Chirwa T (2014) A Review of the Study Designs and Statistical Methods Used in the Determination of Predictors of All-Cause Mortality in HIV-Infected Cohorts

Cruwys T, S. AlexanderHaslam, Genevieve A. Dingle, Catherine Haslam, Jolanda (2014) Jetten Personality and Social Psychology Review Vol 18, Issue 3, pp. 215 - 238

January 20, 2022

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