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Department of Psychology


Regardless of criticisms that online activism does nothing but increase positive feelings, there is merit to understanding the role of online activism for well-being. This research sought to integrate two separate but complimentary lines of research (the well-being effects of activism and social identity) by suggesting that online activism may enhance the ability of social identity to protect against the negative well-being consequences of pervasive discrimination. Three studies, each with different operational definitions of online activism, showed a similar pattern: online activism enhanced the relationship between gender identity and well-being. Consistent with theory on activism’s role as a dynamic predictor of social identity (e.g., Drury & Reicher, 1999), this research suggests that online activism, as a means by which social identity can be enacted, can strengthen the protective ability of social identity for well-being. Theoretical and practical implications of the benefits of online activism are discussed.


This article was originally published in Computers in Human Behavior. © 2018 by Mindi D. Foster. Reproduced with permission.

Related data: Relationships between online activism, perceived sexism, gender identity and well-being in Canadian undergraduates, 2013-2017, available at: