SIGN’s work shows that having a strong sense of shared identity and social connection is key to living a happy, healthy, and productive life. Current research is beginning to ask why and through what processes social identities have this effect. This reflects a fundamental question in social psychology about how group-level factors (e.g., social identity) can influence individual-level outcomes (e.g., health and well-being).
Emerging research from SIGN has the potential to answer this question. This work shows that identifying with groups furnishes people with a sense of personal control over their lives. Perceived personal control is the sense that we can achieve the outcomes we want in life, and is a basic building block of motivation and personal well-being. For it is through this sense of control that individuals can be empowered to work towards achieving their own and their group’s goals.