Coping with structural disadvantage: Overcoming negative effects of perceived barriers through bonding identities
|Title||Coping with structural disadvantage: Overcoming negative effects of perceived barriers through bonding identities|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|Authors||Bakouri, M, Staerklé, C|
|Journal||British Journal of Social Psychology|
|Keywords||collective identities, coping, life-course transitions, relational identities, self-definitions, social bonds, structural disadvantage|
Members of socially disadvantaged groups often experience societal devaluation, material hardship, and restricted opportunities, especially during critical life-course transitions. In this study, we investigate whether what we term ‘bonding identities’, that is, identities connecting the self to significant persons whether in terms of social relationships (e.g., family relations) or in terms of categorical collective identities, help individuals negotiate structural constraints on life-course opportunities. We develop and test a model according to which greater perceived barriers to one’s life-projects are psychologically harmful. We then test whether bonding identities function as a buffer against these stressors’ negative psychological effects. Data were collected with a standardized questionnaire from pre-apprentices, apprentices and young employees in two institutions (N = 365). Results confirm that perceiving barriers to one’s life-project was harmful for self-esteem. However, for participants who defined themselves in terms of bonding identities, greater perceived barriers did not decrease their perceived coping-efficacy, and were less harmful for their self-esteem. These findings point to the empowering role of bonding identities (and the social relationships that they imply) for disadvantaged group members.