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Identity and Psychosocial Functioning across Groups

On September 26 Byron Adams (PhD, Tilburg University, the Netherlands, University of Johannesburg, South Africa) took part in the "Culture matters" research seminar with the report "Identity and Psychosocial Functioning across Groups".

How individuals define themselves from within as well as in relation to others, their “identities”, comprise personal (aspirations and values), relational (roles and relationships), and social (group membership) aspects. Identity has been theoretically and empirically shown to be crucial for understanding psychosocial functioning (i.e., how well a person functions as well as how well they are doing within particular society) throughout people’s lives. While evident that 96% of our current knowledge in social and behavioural sciences are informed by the study of 12% of the world’s population, the aim is to overcome this limitation by investigating the interrelated nature of identity within mainly non-western contexts, and in this case mainly South Africa. The report was provided several studies on identity across different countries, contexts and groups. In each study the importance of different identity aspects for how well people are doing in a society and their attitudes towards others within the context were examined. While author found the evidence for how identity functions across groups, it seems clear that the relationship between identity and psychosocial functioning maybe very similar, with notable exceptions. This begs the question towards the development of studies that examines the exceptions.