Relative deprivation and group consciousness theories differ in their predictions of how personal discrimination and personal discontent will be related to taking collective action. According to relative deprivation theory, assessments of personal status should be unrelated to taking collective action. In contrast, group consciousness theories suggest that while perceiving personal discrimination is necessary for collective action to occur, feelings of personal discontent may inhibit it. Female students completed questionnaires assessing their perceptions of, and affective responses to, personal discrimination, as well as their participation in collective actions. A hierarchical regression analysis found that personal discrimination and discontent interacted such that, among women who perceived personal discrimination, women took the most collective actions when they did not feel personally discontent with their status. Implications for the relationship between negative emotions and intergroup behavior were discussed.

Group Processes and Intergroup Relations
Carleton University

Foster, M.D. (Mindi D.), & Matheson, K. (1998). Perceiving and feeling personal discrimination: Motivation or inhibition for collective action?. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 1(2), 165–174. doi:10.1177/1368430298012004