University of Sussex

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Populism, economic distress, cultural backlash, and identity threat: integrating patterns and testing cross-national validity

journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-26, 11:03 authored by Efisio Manunta, Maja Becker, Vivian VignolesVivian Vignoles, Paul Bertin, Eleonara Crapolicchio, Camila Contreras, Alin Gavreliuc, Roberto González, Claudia Manzi, Thomas Salanova, Matthew EasterbrookMatthew Easterbrook
Populism is on the rise across liberal democracies. The sociopsychological underpinnings of this increasing endorsement of populist ideology should be uncovered. In an online cross-sectional survey study among adult samples from five countries (Chile, France, Italy, Romania, and the United Kingdom; N = 9,105), we aimed to replicate an economic distress pattern in which relative deprivation and identity threat are associated with populism. We further tested a cultural backlash pattern—including perceived anomie, collective narcissism, and identity threat as predictors of populism. Multigroup structural equation models supported both economic distress and cultural backlash paths as predictors of populist thin ideology endorsement. In both paths, identity threat to belonging played a significant role as partial mediator. Furthermore, an integrative model showed that the two patterns were not mutually exclusive. These findings emphasize the implication of identity threat to belonging as an explanatory mediator and demonstrate the cross-national generalizability of these patterns.


Publication status

  • Published


Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin




SAGE Publications

Department affiliated with

  • Psychology Publications


University of Sussex

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes