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National identification, a social cure for COVID-19? Evidence from 67 countries

Abstract

<jats:sec><jats:title>Background:</jats:title><jats:p> Social distancing and mass quarantines were implemented worldwide in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Prior research has shown that such measures bear negative consequences for population mental health and well-being. Conversely, a growing body of evidence suggests that feeling positively identified with a group is associated with physical and mental health benefits. </jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Aims:</jats:title><jats:p> This study tested whether national identification could promote wellbeing and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic. </jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Method:</jats:title><jats:p> We used survey data conducted among 67 countries ( N = 46,450). </jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results:</jats:title><jats:p> Mixed-model analyses revealed that national identity was associated with wellbeing – despite adjustment on social belonging, COVID-19 perceived risk, exposure and ideology. This effect did not extend to physical health. </jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusions:</jats:title><jats:p> These results suggest that the mere feeling of belonging to a national group may have mental health benefits. We discuss the implications of our findings within the social cure framework and their relevance for population mental health under COVID-19. </jats:p></jats:sec>

Acceptance Date May 21, 2021
Publication Date May 21, 2021
Journal International Journal of Social Psychiatry
Print ISSN 0020-7640
Publisher SAGE Publications
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/00207640211020036
Publisher URL https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00207640211020036




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