Structural inequalities and identity processes are pivotal to understanding public response to COVID-19. We discuss how identity processes can be used to promote community-level support, safe normative behaviour, and increase compliance with guidance. However, we caution how government failure to account for structural inequalities can alienate vulnerable groups, inhibit groups from being able to follow guidance, and lead to the creation of new groups in response to illegitimate treatment. Moreover, we look ahead to the longitudinal impacts of inequalities during pandemics and advise government bodies should address identity-based inequalities to mitigate negative relations with the public and subsequent collective protest.


This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite as

Templeton, A., Tekin Guven, S., Hoerst, C., Vestergren, S., Davidson, L., Ballentyne, S., Madsen, H. & Choudhury, S. 2020, 'Inequalities and identity processes in crises: Recommendations for facilitating safe response to the COVID-19 pandemic', British Journal of Social Psychology, 59(3), pp. 674-685. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12400

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 17 June 2022
Was this page helpful?