Skip to main content

Group Identification of Youth in Residential Care: Evidences of Measurement and Dimensionality


This study aims to adapt the Tarrant’s scale of group identification for youth in residential care and to provide evidence of the validity and reliability of this scale. This study is part of a larger project including 59 Portuguese institutions and 400 adolescents (55 % males) from 11 to 18 years old (M = 14.68; SD = 1.83). The adolescents that agreed to participate completed a structured questionnaire that was analysed regarding face, construct and concurrent validity, reliability as well as the relationship between group identification, individual characteristics (age, gender) and placement length. Face validity was obtained with feedback from a panel experts and youth in care. The three components structure obtained explains 70.28 % of the variance: Self-categorization, Group Evaluation and Commitment. The CFA revealed good values of fit: CFI = .95, GFI = .91, and RMSEA = .073. Concurrent validity was documented by the positive and significant correlation found between the positive perception of in-group and all dimensions of group identification, as well by a negative and significant correlation between deviant behaviour and all dimensions of group identification. Finally, significant and positive correlations were found between Self-Categorization and the length of placement in the residential setting. Gender differences were found on Group Evaluation with females reporting higher scores than males. The satisfactory psychometric characteristics of this scale strengthened its trustworthiness in the measurement of group identification and emphasize the relevance and validity of this instrument in the evaluation of group identification in residential care populations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Arbuckle, (2009). Amos 18 User’s Guide. Amos Development Corporation.

  • Brown, R., Condor, S., Mathews, A., Wade, G., & Williams, J. (1986). Explaining intergroup differentiation in an industrial organization. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 59(4), 273–286.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cameron, J. E. (2004). A three-factor model of social identity. Self and Identity, 3(3), 239–262.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Casas, F., Cornejo, J., Colton, M., & Scholte, E. (2000). Perceptions of stigmatization and satisfaction with services received, among users of social welfare services for the child and the family in 3 European Regions. Social Indicators Research, 51(3), 287–308.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cava, M. J., Buelga, S., Herrero, J., & Musitu, G. (2011). Factor structure of the Spanish adaptation of Tarrant’s Group identification scale. Psicothema, 23(4), 772–777.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cheung, C., Goodman, D., Leckie, G., & Jenkins, J. M. (2011). Understanding contextual effects on externalizing behaviors in children in out-of-home care: Influence of workers and foster families. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(10), 2050–2060.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Deaux, K. (2000). Models, meanings, and motivations. In D. Capozza & R. Brown (Eds.), Social identity processes: Trends in theory and research (pp. 1–14). London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ellemers, N., Kortekaas, P., & Ouwerkerk, J. (1999). Self-categorization, commitment to the group and social self-esteem as related but distinct aspects of social identity. European Journal of Social Psychology, 29, 371–389.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., Postmes, T., & Haslam, C. (2009). Social identity, health and well-being: an emerging agenda for applied psychology. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 58(1), 1–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hinkle, S., Taylor, L. A., Fox-Cardamone, D. L., & Crook, K. F. (1989). Intragroup indentification and intergroup differentiation: A multicomponent approach. British Journal of Social Psychology, 28, 305–317.

  • Hu, L., & Bentler, P. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modelling, 6(1), 1–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Khoo, E., Skoog, V., & Dalin, R. (2012). In and ou of care. A profile and anlaysis of children in the out-of-home care system in Sweden. Children and Youth Services Review, 34, 900–907.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kinney, D. (1993). From nerds to normals: The recovery of identity among adolescents from middle school to high school. Sociology of Education, 66, 21–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kline, R. (2005). Principles and practice of structural equations modeling (2nd ed.). London: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kroger, J. (2000). Identity development: Adolescence through adulthood. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Magalhães, E. & Calheiros, M. M. (2014). Youth’s perceptions about their group: psychometric properties of a measurement tool. Submitted for publication.

  • PASW Statistics 20 [Predictive Analytics SoftWare]. Chicago: IBM-SPSS Statistics.

  • Schermelleh-Engel, K., Moosbrugger, H., & Muller, H. (2003). Evaluating the fit of structural equation models: tests of significance and descriptive goodness-of-fit measures. Methods of Psychological Research Online, 8(2), 23–74.

    Google Scholar 

  • Social Security Institute (2012). Annual report of the situation of children and young people in residential care. Available at

  • Tajfel, H. (1982). Social psychology of intergroup relations. Annual Review of Psychology, 33, 1–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tanti, C., Stukas, A. A., Halloran, M. J., & Foddy, M. (2011). Social identity change: Shifts in social identity during adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 34(3), 555–567.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tarrant, M. (2002). Adolescent peer groups and social identity. Social Development, 11(1), 110–123.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tarrant, M., MacKenzie, L., & Hewitt, L. (2006). Friendship group identification, multidimensional self-concept, and experience of developmental tasks in adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 29, 627–640.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Turner, J. (1987). Rediscovering the social group: A self-categorization theory. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Turner, J. (1999). Social identity theory: Where are we now? In N. Ellemers, R. Spears, & B. Doosje (Eds.), Social identity: Context, commitment and content. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vorria, P., Rutter, M., Pikles, A., Wolkind, S., & Hobsbaum, A. (1998). A comparative study of greek children in long-term residential group care and in two-parent families: II. Possible mediating mechanisms. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39(2), 237–245.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wong, C. A., Eccles, J., & Sameroff, A. (2003). The influence of ethnic discrimination and ethnic identification on African American adolescents’ school and socioemotional adjustment. Journal of Personality, 71, 1197–1232.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Worchel, S., Iuzzini, J., Coutant, D., & Ivaldi, M. (2000). A multidimensional model of identity. In D. Capozza & R. Brown (Eds.), Social identity processes: Trends in theory and research (pp. 15–33). London: Sage.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Zambo, D. (2010). Strategies to enhance the social identities and social networks of adolescent students with disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 43(2), 28–35.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This work is funded by a doctoral grant for the first author, from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology – (Reference SFRH/BD/77554/2011). The authors would like to thank to all the institutions and especially to all adolescents who accepted to participate in this study. The authors would like to thank the careful text review provided by Carla Sofia Silva and Professor Margarida Vaz Garrido.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eunice Magalhães.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Magalhães, E., Calheiros, M.M. Group Identification of Youth in Residential Care: Evidences of Measurement and Dimensionality. Child Ind Res 8, 375–388 (2015).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: