Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.
Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Open Access Thesis
Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
In the aftermath of mass violence or harm perpetrated against one group by another, commemoration or memorialization processes held by the victim group are often a space in which narratives of impact and suffering are expressed and shared. While there may be no formal or direct calls for justice or policy during these commemoration processes, prior research indicates that such public forums, ranging from truth commissions to museum exhibits, may have diverse impacts on individual emotions as well as attitudes towards the broader conflict implicated (Humphrey, 2000; Reeves & Heath-Kelly, 2020). The current work proposes a closer examination of such intragroup commemoration processes for reflecting and sharing statements of ingroup suffering, specifically examining the possibility that intragroup communication of victim narratives can lead to a range of conflict perpetuating and conflict resolution attitudes, dependent on the type of narrative communication and subsequently evoked emotions. Across three studies, the research explores how sending and receiving ingroup victim narratives across both private and public contexts can lead to divergent emotional experiences, and thus divergent outcomes for intergroup conflict related attitudes. Study 1, a quasi-experiment found that the relationship between feelings of empowerment and peaceful conflict resolution attitudes was strengthened for Americans who reflected on the impact of 9/11 during its commemoration day in contrast to a non-commemorative day, just as the association of meaning derived from conflict with conflict perpetuating attitudes was also strengthened. Study 2 experimentally manipulated the public process of sending narrative communication, in contrast to private reflection, and demonstrated that the public context significantly increased both feelings of empowerment and meaning derived from conflict and replicated the downstream impacts on conflict attitudes of Study 1. Finally, Study 3 extended these findings by adding a receiving component to the narrative communication, which resulted in higher levels of ingroup identity, as well as lower levels of peaceful conflict resolution support. Together, these three studies help to illustrate the complexity of both the psychological processes and resultant conflict attitudes that can arise from communicating narratives of ingroup suffering.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Burrows, Brooke, "Narrative Communication: How Sending and Receiving Impact Statements on Past Ingroup Suffering Influences Conflict Attitudes" (2021). Masters Theses. 1124.