Group-based guilt as a predictor of commitment to apology

C. McGarty, Anne Pedersen, C.W. Leach, T. Mansell, Julie Waller, A.-M. Bliuc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


Whether the Australian government should officially apologize to Indigenous Australians for past wrongs is hotly debated in Australia. The predictors of support amongst non‐Indigenous Australians for such an apology were examined in two studies. The first study (N=164) showed that group‐based guilt was a good predictor of support for a government apology, as was the perception that non‐Indigenous Australians were relatively advantaged. In the second study (N=116) it was found that group‐based guilt was an excellent predictor of support for apology and was itself predicted by perceived non‐Indigenous responsibility for harsh treatment of Indigenous people, and an absence of doubts about the legitimacy of group‐based guilt. National identification was not a predictor of group‐based guilt. The results of the two studies suggest that, just as individual emotions predict individual action tendencies, so group‐based guilt predicts support for actions or decisions to be taken at the collective level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-680
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


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