Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 47 Issue 7 (July 2017), Pages 353-411

Socially creative appraisals of rejection bolster ethnic migrants' subjective well‐being (pages 366-376)

Abstract

We examined a proposition based on social identity theory that socially creative appraisals of rejection can boost the well‐being of strongly identifying ethnic migrants. We piloted this proposition amongst women (N = 80) and found that strong (but not weak) group identifiers who considered the positive views that society holds about their social identity reported higher subjective wellbeing (self‐esteem) relative to those who dwelt on rejection. In a subsequent field experiment (N = 179) conducted amongst ethnic migrants in London, we added a further social creativity treatment in which participants were encouraged to consider how they would view immigrants if they were native British (accommodation). Results revealed that the two social creativity mindsets (accommodation and positive) combined: (a) reduced perceptions of social rejection and increased optimism over the openness and fairness of society relative to a rejection mindset, (b) enhanced the self‐esteem of strongly (but not weakly) identified ethnic migrants, and (c) enhanced ethnic migrant's wellbeing by minimizing the recall of social rejection and by strengthening optimism over the host society's openness and fairness. Implications for social change are discussed.

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