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The biographical consequences of protest and activism: a systematic review and a new typology

Vestergren, Sara; Drury, John; Hammar Chiriac, Eva


John Drury

Eva Hammar Chiriac


Most research on activist participation has aimed to explain motives to engage in protest and collective action or becoming an activist. The outcomes, for the individual, have been neglected. Therefore, we set out to systematically document and organize the psychological and behavioural changes associated with activism into a typology of change. The review contains 57 papers describing changes. Psychological changes identified in the literature can be classified into 19 main forms: marital status, children, relationship ties, work-life/career, extended involvement, consumer behaviour, identity, empowerment, radicalization/politicization, legitimacy, sustained commitment, self-esteem, general well-being, ‘traits’, self-confidence, religion, organizing, knowledge and home skills. Our analysis highlights the lack of analysis of the relation between type of protest and type of change, and lack of research into the processes behind the various psychological changes. What is needed now is more precise investigation of the relationship between types of protests, social and psychological processes, and psychological outcomes. Further, more longitudinal studies are required to explore the relationship.


Vestergren, S., Drury, J., & Hammar Chiriac, E. (2016). The biographical consequences of protest and activism: a systematic review and a new typology. Social Movement Studies, 16(2), 203 - 221.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 12, 2016
Publication Date Nov 2, 2016
Journal Social Movement Studies
Print ISSN 1474-2837
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 2
Pages 203 - 221
Keywords Protest, collective action, psychological change, activism, identity
Publisher URL