Social identity change: Shifts in social identity during adolescence Academic Article uri icon


  • This study investigated the proposition that adolescence involves significant shifts in social identity as a function of changes in social context and cognitive style. Using an experimental design, we primed either peer or gender identity with a sample of 380 early- (12-13 years), mid- (15-16 years), and late-adolescents (18-20 years) and then measured the effect of the prime on self-stereotyping and ingroup favouritism. The findings showed significant differences in social identity across adolescent groups, in that social identity effects were relatively strong in early- and late-adolescents, particularly when peer group identity rather than gender identity was salient. While these effects were consistent with the experience of change in educational social context, differences in cognitive style were only weakly related to ingroup favouritism. The implications of the findings for theory and future research on social identity during adolescence are discussed.

publication date

  • June 2011

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