„We“ are not stressed: Social identity in groups buffers neuroendocrine stress reactions
The presence of others in threatening situations can be a mixed blessing since it is not always perceived as supportive but can also impair well-being. Building on social identity theory, we tested the idea that the presence of others only has a buffering effect on neuroendocrine stress reactions if a sense of shared social identity is evoked. Therefore, the salience of social versus personal identity was manipulated. To induce social-evaluative stress, the Trier Social Stress Test for groups (TSST-G) was employed, while in the control conditions the Placebo-TSST-G was used. As predicted, social identity salience attenuated the stress-induced cortisol reaction in the TSST-G condition. By contrast, there was no effect of identity salience in the Placebo-TSST-G conditions. These findings provide the first experimental evidence for the idea that being part of a group only buffers neuroendocrine stress if group members develop a sense of shared social identity.
Häusser, J.A., Kattenstroth, M., Van Dick, R. & Mojzisch, A. (in press). "We" are not stressed: Social identity in groups buffers neuroendocrine stress reactions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology