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Sonoma State University Meta-Analysis of Relative Deprivation Research

Contents & Links

Human Subjects Approval Application (PDF)

Examples of RD measures

Current reference list

Preliminary data set

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What Does Relative Deprivation Predict?
A Meta-Analytic Critique

Relative deprivation (RD) is a judgment that one (or one's reference group) is worse off compared to some standard leading to feelings of anger and resentment. RD Theory suggests that even if an individual's objective circumstances are quite good, they will feel deprived if they compare themselves to others who have resources to which they feel entitled. Since the concept was introduced, researchers have used RD to explain and predict a range of phenomena ranging from poor physical health to participation in collective protest and susceptibility to terrorist recruitment. However, research results have been inconsistent and, in some cases, contradictory. The purpose of this project is to conduct a meta-analysis by combining and analyzing statistical effect sizes from previous relative deprivation research in four areas: [1] participation in collective behavior, [2] attitudes toward other groups, [3] individual behavior, and [4] such internal states as physical health, psychological stress and self-evaluation.

We hope to include (published and unpublished) research projects that meet the six inclusion criteria listed below.

  1. The RD measure can be treated as a predictor variable.
  2. RD or a close proxy variable must be asked of individual subjects directly.
  3. The RD measure must be defined as a comparative construct.
  4. The respondent must be involved in the comparison (as opposed to feeling deprived on the behalf of another person or group).
  5. The outcome measure and RD measure must represent different domains.
  6. The relationship between the respondent and the comparison target must be clear.

We would like to thank the following colleagues who reanalyzed their original data for us:

  • Monica Aberg Yngwe, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Dominic Abrams, University of Kent, England
  • Stephen Baron, Queens University, Canada
  • Ruth Beatson, LaTrobe University, Australia
  • Jon Gunnar Bernburg, University of Iceland
  • Kyree Breivik, Research Center for Health Promotion, University of Bergen, Norway
  • Filip Boen, Katholieke University, Belgium
  • Suzanne Brunsting, University of Amsterdam
  • Huseyin Cakal, Oxford University, Britain
  • Brian Cassel, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Virginia, United States
  • Michaël Dambrun, Université Blaise Pascal, France
  • Roxane de la Sablonnière, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • Harvey Krahn, University of Alberta, Canada
  • Anja Eller, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
  • Ronald Fischer, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  • Mindi Foster, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada
  • Marek Fuchs, Universität Kassel, Germany
  • Frank Fujita, Indianna University, South Bend, United States
  • Julian Jamison, UCSF and UC Berkeley, United States
  • Gloria Jones Johnson, Iowa State University, United States
  • Mir R Islam, Charles Sturt University, Australia
  • Alison Inglis, Upper Canada District School Board, Ontario, Canada
  • PJ Henry, New York University, Abu Dhabi
  • Bert Klandermans, Free University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Thomas Kessler, University of Exeter, England
  • Dahlia Moore, Hebrew University of Jersualem, Israel
  • Amélie Mummendey, University of Jena, Germany
  • Faris K.O. Nadhmi, Baghdad University, Iraq
  • H.Y. Ngo, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Mary Beth Oliver, Pennsylvannia State Universeity, United States
  • Genevieve Pham-Kan, Princeton University, United States
  • Patricia Reagan, Ohio State University, United States
  • Manfred Schmitt, Univerisyt of Koblenz-Landau, Germany
  • Paschal Sheeran, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • Nassim Tabri, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
  • Linda Tropp, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, United States
  • Tom Tyler, New York University, United States
  • Hanna Zagefka, Royal Holloway, England
  • Kent Jennings, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Craig Weber, University of South Hampton, United Kingdom
  • Anne-Katrin Wickboldt, Massachusetts of Technology, United States
  • Tina Uys, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Hyeseung Yang, Kyungsung University, South Korea
  • Craig Weber, University of South Hampton, United Kingdom

Project team members include:

  • Silvana Bialosiewicz
  • Tara Cheitlin
  • Zach Cohen
  • Chris Goode
  • Gina Frey
  • Aubrey Koch
  • Stephanie McKee
  • Danielle Zelisko
  • Ray Parr
  • Gina Pippin

This project is funded by a generous grant from the Social Psychology Program at the National Science Foundation titled "RUI: What does Relative Deprivation Predict? A Meta-Analytic Critique".

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Heather Smith, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Sonoma State University

Thomas Pettigrew, Ph.D.
Psychology Department
Social Sciences II
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 459-2560
FAX: (831) 459-3519