INTRODUCTION Social identity theory looks at the self-concept in terms of two aspects, personal identity and social identity (Tajfel, 1982, as cited in Luhtanen and Crocker, 1992). Personal identity involves attributes specific to the individual and how they view themselves. Social identity involves how they view the social groups they are members of. In American terminology, collective identity is used instead of social identity, because social identity refers to social roles and interpersonal domains (Cheek, 1989, as cited in Luhtanen and Crocker, 1992). Collective identity can include aspects of self-concept such as race, ethnic background, and religion.
Self-esteem has generally looked at only personal identity, focusing on the individualís self-evaluations based on personal attributes (Luhtanen and Crocker, 1992). Due to this focus, self-esteem measures fail to measure an individualís self-esteem based on their collective identity. However, Tajfel and Turner (1986, as cited in Luhtanen and Crocker, 1992) state that individuals strive not only to enhance their positive identity, but also to enhance their collective identity. The extent that an individualís social groups are valued and compare favorably to other comparable groups influences the individualís positive collective identity. Collective self-esteem feeds into the individualís overall sense of worth and positive self-concept, but is not measured by most regular self-esteem scales. Brown, Collins, and Schmidt (1988, as cited in Luhtanen and Crocker, 1992) found that one type of self-esteem may at times compensate for another.
Luhtanen and Crocker (1992) developed a collective self-esteem scale that attempts to assess individual levels of social identity based on group membership. From this scale, they predict that individualís who are active members of their social groups will score higher on the scale than less active members.Ellemers, Doosje, and Spears (2004) studied the effects of feedback on individuals when it came from members of their in-group, compared to feedback coming from members of an out-group. They found the respect from in-groups members could enhance collective self-esteem and induce positive feelings. Respect from out-groups members had no effect on collective self-esteem, along with causing no emotional response. They also found that individuals who were highly respected by their in-group reported lower levels of shame than those individualís who were not as highly respected by their in-groups. They found that the desire to change due to feedback from the individualís in-group was greater in individuals who had higher levels of collective self-esteem.
When college students involved in different campus religious groups were studied, it was found that they had an increase in the categories of self esteem that were judged to be more important to the group they were a member of (Hunter, Kypros, Stokell, Boyes, OíBrien, and McMenamin, 2004). When members of these groups were evaluated positively by the group they were a member of, their physical self-esteem levels increased. This suggests that their self-esteem increased because of in-group favoritism.
The purpose of my study is to compare collective self esteem scale scores taken from active members of different religious denominations and see if the denomination of the church they attend makes a difference in their collective self esteem.
Participants were taken from three churches of similar size in a small Northwestern Missouri town, from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Southern Baptist church, and the Assembly of God church. Participants were identified by church leaders as being active members of the church, in order to make the two groups comparable. 14 members from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints participated, 21 members of the Southern Baptist church participated, and 18 members of the Assembly of God church participated.
Participants filled out a 16 question likert-type collective self esteem scale (Luhtanen and Crocker, 1992). This scale measures four dimensions of collective self esteem, membership, private, public, and identity (see figure 1).
After participants were identified as active, I asked them to fill out the survey. They were told it measured collective self esteem and that it was for a project I was doing for my experimental psychology class. They were told that their participation was voluntary. No deception was involved. No incentive was given. I told them the survey was confidential. I answered any questions they had about my study.
RESULTS A 3 (religious denomination) x 2 (gender) between-subjects factorial ANOVA was calculated comparing the collective self esteem score for subjects who were members of one of three religious denominations and were either male or female. A significant main effect for religious denomination was found (F(2,47)=4.403, p<.05). Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had higher collective self esteem scores (m=56.5, sd=8.33) than members who attended the Southern Baptist church (m=46.10, sd=9.57) and members who attended the Assembly of God church (m=49.00, sd=6.30) (see figure 2). The main effect for gender was not significant (F(1,47)=1.226, p>.05). Finally, the interaction was also not significant (F(2,47)=.241, p>.05).
DISCUSSION Members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints scored significantly higher on a collective self esteem scale than members of other churches. There was no significant difference in scores between members of the Assembly of God church and members of the Southern Baptist church. I was only able to get one female from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to participate in my study, and that may have affected my results for gender. Another potential problem with my study was that participants had to be identified by church leaders as being active members of their church before they could be asked to participate. I did this because since active members score higher than non active members on collective self esteem scales, not identifying participants as active members could have affected my results. However, since they had to be identified by church leaders, the leaders could have identified people they thought would respond in ways that put their church in a good light. Members could also have responded in ways they thought would reflect well on their church whether or not it was how they actually felt. A way of identifying members as active without involving church leaders should be considered. For future research, other religious denominations should be compared. Religious groups should also be compared to other groups to see if there is a difference in scores. Another potential future project could look at collective self esteem scores from members of churches that varied in size and see if there was a difference.
REFERENCESElmers, N., Doosje, B., & Spears, R. (2004). Sources of respect: The effects of being liked by ingroups and outgroups. European Journal of Social Psychology, 34, 155-172.Hunter, J. A., Kypri, K., Stokell, N. M., Boyes, M., OíBrien, K. S., & McMenanmin, K. E. (2004). Social identity, self-evaluation, and in-group bias: The relative importance of particular domains of self-esteem to the in-group. British Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 59-81.Luhtanen, R., & Crocker, J. (1992). A collective self-esteem scale: Self-evaluation of oneís social identity. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 18, 302-318.
FIGURE CAPTIONSFigure 1. Example of the collective self esteem scale that was used.Figure 2. Average collective self esteem scores for men and women from three different religious denominations.