Religious segregation and well-being in Northern Ireland

K. McAloney, M. Stringer

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Background: Segregation is a salient characteristic of almost every aspect of life in Northern Ireland from residential environments and schooling to social activities. Research among racial minority groups in America has suggested that segregation may play a key role in the psychological well-being and positive esteem of minority individuals. In Northern Ireland attendance at university often presents the first opportunity to interact with individuals from the ‘other’ religious group on a relatively continuous and voluntary basis. This study aims to test and apply a model of racial minority well-being to both minority and majority religious group members in Northern Ireland prior to and after inter-group contact.

Design: A longitudinal study was designed to engage participants at a time when they were transitioning from their usual residential environment to a more inclusive and multi-cultural university environment.Method: 102 first year undergraduate students completed measures of segregation identification rejection and well-being at the beginning of the academic year (time 1) and again at the end of the academic year (time 2).

Results: The rejection-identification model of racial segregation and minority well-being proposes that segregation influences well-being via in- and out-group rejection and identification. The model of religious segregation and well-being proposed in this study had an acceptable fit at both time 1 and time 2 and supported the relationship between in-group rejection and identification with well-being and esteem.
Conclusions: The model identified here lends partial support for a rejection-identification model of religious residential segregation and well-being in Northern Ireland. Implications and directions for further research will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • religious segregation
  • Northern Ireland
  • university
  • education
  • well-being
  • esteem


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