There is growing recognition that identification with social groups can protect and enhance health and well-being, thereby constituting a kind of "social cure." The present research explores the role of control as a novel mediator of the relationship between shared group identity and well-being. Five studies provide evidence for this process. Group identification predicted significantly greater perceived personal control across 47 countries (Study 1), and in groups that had experienced success and failure (Study 2). The relationship was observed longitudinally (Study 3) and experimentally (Study 4). Manipulated group identification also buffered a loss of personal control (Study 5). Across the studies, perceived personal control mediated social cure effects in political, academic, community, and national groups. The findings reveal that the personal benefits of social groups come not only from their ability to make people feel good, but also from their ability to make people feel capable and in control of their lives.
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