Endorsing Narratives Under Threat: Maintaining Perceived Collective Continuity Through the Protective Power of Ingroup Narratives in Northern Ireland and Cyprus


  • Anouk Smeekes
  • Shelley McKeown
  • Charis Psaltis


In historically divided societies, narratives play an important role in understanding the maintenance and perception of identities and group status over time. Moving beyond the consequences of identity continuity perceptions, in this paper we were interested in the antecedents of perceived collective continuity, specifically the role of narratives and threat perceptions. We predicted that endorsement of ingroup narratives would be associated with higher perceived continuity through stronger perceptions of group threat. To test this hypothesis, we recruited participants from both majority and minority groups in Northern Ireland (N = 268) and in Cyprus (N = 413) to complete an online survey to examine their endorsement of ingroup and outgroup narratives, their perceptions of identity continuity and feelings of threat. We tested these predictions with path analyses. In line with our hypothesis, results demonstrate that, for both majority and minority groups, if group members feel threatened they are more likely to endorse their ingroup historical narrative as this helps them to maintain a sense of continuity of their ingroup identity. Findings are discussed in relation to the importance of considering narratives in intergroup relations.