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Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (CMI)

Ingrid Storm awarded BA/Leverhulme Grant

16 March 2017

CMI's Dr Ingrid Storm has been funded by the British Academy / Leverhulme small grant scheme together with two psychologists from the University of Amsterdam’s Uncertainty Lab, Bastiaan Rutjens and Frenk van Harreveld, to investigate whether between-country differences in Christian identity, would be strengthened by priming participants with salience of threat to the national economy.

A number of studies have shown that situations of insecurity and threat could increase religious in-group identification. 

In the coming year Dr Storm will conduct a survey experiment on a large sample of self-defined Christians from the Netherlands and Denmark, two countries with marked difference in the relationship between religious and national identity. The majority of Danes (76.9%) are members of the Lutheran "Folk Church", which is considered an integral part of national identity. Christianity in the Netherlands tends to be more individualised, and only 33% identify as Christian. However 20% pray every day compared to only 10% in Denmark (ESS 2014).

Their hypothesis is that these differences would be heightened in a situation of threat salience. Specifically, they predict that people primed with threat such as large scale unemployment will describe their religion more in terms of collective identity in Denmark, and personal identity in the Netherlands. Identification with a religious group may be a way of coping with insecurity and threat. The contribution of our interdisciplinary study is to find out whether the mechanism of this relationship varies between cultural contexts.

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