Using the SIRDE model of social change to examine the vote of Scottish teenagers in the 2014 independence referendum

Peter R. Grant (Lead / Corresponding author), Mark Bennett, Dominic Abrams

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Five hundred and seventy-three Scottish high school students were surveyed in the 2 months following the 2014 referendum on Scotland's independence. We used the Social Identity, Relative Deprivation, collective Efficacy (SIRDE) model of social change to examine the social psychological factors that should have influenced the voting choices of these teenagers. Structural equation modelling indicated that the SIRDE model fit the data and largely supported four sets of hypotheses derived from the model. Specifically, (1) those with a stronger Scottish identity, (2) those who felt frustrated and angry that Scottish people are discriminated against in British society, and (3) those who believed that Scottish people are not able to improve their relatively poor social conditions within the United Kingdom (a lack of collective efficacy) were more likely to hold separatist beliefs. Further, the relationships between identity, relative deprivation, and collective efficacy, on the one hand, and voting for Scotland's independence, on the other, were fully mediated by separatist social change beliefs. Consistent with the specificity of the model, neither political engagement nor personal relative deprivation were associated with voting choice, whereas the latter was associated with lower life satisfaction. The implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-474
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date1 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2017
EventBPS Developmental Section & Social Section Annual Conference - Palace Hotel, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Sept 201511 Sept 2015 (Link to conference website)


  • Identity
  • Relative deprivation
  • Efficacy
  • Protest
  • Social change beliefs
  • Separatism
  • Scotland's independence referendum
  • Youth vote


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