Perceived Discrimination Predicts Increased Support for Political Rights and Life Satisfaction Mediated by Ethnic Identity: A Longitudinal Analysis

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Abstract

Objectives: The aim of the current research is to test predictions derived from the rejection-identification model and research on collective action using cross-sectional (Study 1) and longitudinal (Study 2) methods. Specifically, an integration of these 2 literatures suggest that recognition of discrimination can have simultaneous positive relationships with well-being and engagement in collective action via the formation of a strong ingroup identity. Method: We test these predictions in 2 studies using data from a large national probability sample of Māori (the indigenous peoples of New Zealand), collected as part of the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (Ns for Study 1 and 2 were 1,981 and 1,373, respectively). Results: Consistent with the extant research, Study 1 showed that perceived discrimination was directly linked with decreased life satisfaction, but indirectly linked with increased life satisfaction through higher levels of ethnic identification. Perceived discrimination was also directly linked with increased support for Māori rights and indirectly linked with increased support for Māori rights through higher levels of ethnic identification. Study 2 replicated these findings using longitudinal data and identified multiple bidirectional paths between perceived discrimination, ethnic identity, well-being, and support for collective action. Conclusion: These findings replicate and extend the rejection-identification model in a novel cultural context by demonstrating via cross-sectional (Study 1) and longitudinal (Study 2) analyses that the recognition of discrimination can both motivate support for political rights and increase well-being by strengthening ingroup identity.

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