Journal Article

Music preference, social identity, and collective self-esteem


Aims: Previous research suggests there may be links between people’s self-esteem and their musical preferences, although this evidence is inconsistent and inconclusive. The present study aimed to re-examine these links using measures of collective self-esteem, whilst also taking into account factors that are likely to moderate these links (i.e., age, gender, and personality). Method: One hundred and thirty-nine young adults completed an online questionnaire assessing their musical preferences, collective self-esteem, and personality. Findings: Participants’ musical preferences were found to be linked to their self-reported collective self-esteem. When controlling for the effects of age, gender, and personality, scores on the private collective self-esteem sub-scale were found to positively predict preference for “intense and rebellious” music (i.e., hard rock, heavy metal, punk). Scores on the importance to identity subscale, however, were found to negatively predict participants’ preference for “reflective and complex” music (e.g., blues, classical music, folk). Conclusions: These findings suggest that collective self-esteem might play a role in how our musical preferences develop and offer further evidence for the idea that our music preferences are somehow linked to our sense of identity.

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Clark, Amber B.
Lonsdale, Adam J.

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences


Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-07-29

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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