Navigating Stigma and Group Conflict: Group Identification as a Cause and Consequence of Self‐Labeling

  • Jennifer Whitson
  • Eric M. Anicich
  • Cynthia S. Wang
  • Adam D. Galinsky


A crucial element of navigating group conflict is how group members manage stigma imposed on them by other groups. Across three experiments, we propose that group identification is a cause and consequence of self‐labeling with stigmatizing group labels, a practice known to reduce stigma. Experiment 1 found that group identification increased self‐labeling with a stigmatizing group label. In Experiment 2, individuals who self‐labeled with a stigmatizing group label felt more identified with their group, which reduced the label's perceived negativity; they also persisted longer on an in‐group helping task, an effect that was partially mediated by group identification. In Experiment 3, observers perceived self‐labelers as more identified with their group and as viewing the label less negatively; perceived group identification mediated the relationship. Group identification is a critical component in reappropriating stigmatizing labels and provides insight into how highly identified members can navigate group conflict by negotiating their group's identity.

Keywords: diversity, stigma, identity, intergroup conflict

How to Cite:

Whitson, J. & Anicich, E. & Wang, C. & Galinsky, A., (2017) “Navigating Stigma and Group Conflict: Group Identification as a Cause and Consequence of Self‐Labeling”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 10(2), 88-106. doi:

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Published on
24 Apr 2017
Peer Reviewed