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I will do anything to be in the group: Personal control moderates the effect of the need to belong on in-group aggression

David Guirgus, Dacey Bashaw, Valerie Vessels, William C. Pedersen, Lorelei Acuna, Sydney Carpentier, Isabella DiLauro, Elizabeth Franco, Joanne Kim, Allyn Ojeda, California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840.

Personal control is a basic human need to reduce perceptions of randomness in one’s life. The lack of personal control may cause individuals to act in an aggressive fashion. In addition, the desire to belong to a group can also drive aggressive actions. The current study is the first to assess the moderating effect of personal control on the relationship between the need to belong and subsequent aggression. Participants first performed a writing task where they recalled an incident in which something threatening occurred to them where they either did (high personal control) or did not (low personal control) have control over the specific situation. They were then asked to work on a difficult anagram task and were afterwards insulted by the experimenter (who was either an in-group or an out-group member) on their poor performance (viz. provocation induction). Finally, participants completed the Need to Belong Scale and were then asked to evaluate the experimenter for a coveted paid research assistant position (viz. the aggression measure). Results indicated a significant three way interaction between personal control, need to belong, and type of target, F(1, 148) = 4.53 p = .0349. Simple interaction analysis revealed that need to belong moderated the effect of personal control on aggression only towards in-group targets, F(1, 148) = 5.10 p = .0254, and not towards out-group targets, F(1, 148) = 0.38 p = .5410. Furthermore, focusing on in-group targets, simple slopes analysis indicated a negative relationship between the need to belong and aggression for those in the low personal control condition, b = -0.54, p = .0301, but no such relationship for individuals in the high personal control condition, b = +0.22, p = .3410. Implications for the effect of personal control on the relationship between need to belong on aggression will be discussed.




Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: David Guirgus

Institution: California State University - Long Beach

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 10
Date/Time: Wed 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 6572