Having a lot of a good thing: multiple important group memberships as a source of self-esteem.
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Membership in important social groups can promote a positive identity. We propose and test an identity resource model in which personal self-esteem is boosted by membership in additional important social groups. Belonging to multiple important group memberships predicts personal self-esteem in children (Study 1a), older adults (Study 1b), and former residents of a homeless shelter (Study 1c). Study 2 shows that the effects of multiple important group memberships on personal self-esteem are not reducible to number of interpersonal ties. Studies 3a and 3b provide longitudinal evidence that multiple important group memberships predict personal self-esteem over time. Studies 4 and 5 show that collective self-esteem mediates this effect, suggesting that membership in multiple important groups boosts personal self-esteem because people take pride in, and derive meaning from, important group memberships. Discussion focuses on when and why important group memberships act as a social resource that fuels personal self-esteem.