Group Status, Perceptions of Threat, and Support for Social Inequality

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Members of high-status groups have been shown to favor social inequality, but little research has investigated the boundary conditions of this phenomenon. In the present article we suggest that perceived intergroup threat moderates the relationship between group status and support for social inequality (i.e., social dominance orientation), especially among highly identified group members. In Study 1, Democrats and Republicans rated their party's relative status and were later exposed to a leading US. Presidential candidate from the opposing party (high threat) or their own party (low threat). In Study 2, university students were made to believe that their school had high or low status and were then presented with threatening or non-threatening information about a rival institution. The results of both studies supported the prediction that status only increases preferences for group-based inequality under conditions of high threat and high ingroup identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-210
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Group identification
  • Group status
  • Intergroup threat
  • Social dominance orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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