Religious and national group identification in adolescence: A study among three religious groups in Mauritius

Caroline Ng Tseung-Wong, Maykel Verkuyten

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Religious group identification is an important but understudied social identity. The present study investigates religious group identification among adolescents of different faiths (Hindu, Muslim, Christian) living in multicultural Mauritius. It further explores how religious and national group identities come together among religious majority and minority adolescents. For three age groups (11 to 19 years, N = 2152) we examined the strength of adolescents' religious and national group identification, the associations between these two identities, and the relationships to global self-esteem. Across age and religious group, participants reported stronger identification with their religious group than with the nation. Identification with both categories declined with age, with the exception of Muslims, whose strong religious identification was found across adolescence. The association between religious and national identification was positive, albeit stronger for the majority group of Hindus and for early adolescents. We examined the manner in which religious and national identities come together using a direct self-identification measure and by combining the separate continuous measures of identification. Four distinct clusters of identification (predominant religious identifiers, dual identifiers, neutrals, and separate individuals) that were differently associated with global self-esteem were found. Dual identifiers reported the highest level of global self-esteem. The clusters of identification did not fully correspond to the findings for the direct self-identification measure. The results are discussed in terms of the meaning of dual identity and the positive manner in which adolescents can manage their multiple identities while taking into account the ideological framework in which those identities are played out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-857
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


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