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Testing the subtractive pattern of cultural identification

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European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


Identity integration, and more specifically, the subtractive pattern of cultural identification, is investigated in this article. This pattern is hypothesized to occur when individuals integrate a new group identity of higher and legitimate status than their original identity, resulting in lower identification with the original group. The first study examined how relative status predicts the subtractive pattern of identification in immigrants living in Canada. Studies 2 and 3—conducted among Kyrgyz and Canadian participants—extended these results by measuring the impact of legitimacy on the subtractive pattern of identification. Results support the hypothesis that the subtractive pattern of identification takes place when the new identity has a higher and legitimate status compared with the original one, highlighting the possible different patterns of identity integration.