Sweating the big stuff: Arousal and stress as functions of self-uncertainty and identification

Joshua K. Brown, Zachary P. Hohman, Elizabeth M. Niedbala, Alec J. Stinnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Groups serve a variety of crucial functions, one of which is the provision of an identity and belief system that impart self-referent information, thereby reducing self-uncertainty. Entitative groups are more attractive for highly uncertain participants seeking groups for identification and self-uncertainty reduction than less entitative groups. The purpose of the current study was to explore how self-uncertainty impacts physiological arousal and stress responses. Using a mixed-methods design (N = 123), we found that self-uncertainty increased physiological arousal (measured via skin-conductance level) and stress responses (measured via heart rate). Furthermore, we found that uncertainty-activated physiological arousal and stress responses were decreased through identification with a high entitativity group. Our findings expand upon uncertainty identity theory by identifying physiological mechanisms that motivate uncertainty reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13836
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • HR
  • SCL
  • identification
  • piecewise multilevel growth curve modeling
  • self-uncertainty


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