Nationalism and Well-Being of Bulgarian and Romanian Youth

THE INFLUENCE OF NATIONALISM AND NATIONAL IDENTITY ON WELL-BEING OF BULGARIAN AND ROMANIAN YOUTH

RADOSVETA DIMITROVA, CARMEN BUZEA, VANJA LJUJIC, VENZISLAV JORDANOV

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Abstract

This study compared high school youth from two major cities in Bulgaria and Romania, by examining differences in nationalism and national identity and their joint influence on well-being. We tested the hypothesis that nationalism activates a sense of national identity, which in turn increases well-being. Participants for this study – 178 adolescents of Bulgarian ethnic background and 211 adolescents of Romanian ethnicity – were sampled from two public high schools in Sofia (Bulgaria) and two public high schools in Brasov (Romania). They provided data on their nationalistic attitudes and national identity, life satisfaction, positive and negative affect and anxiety. Results showed that Bulgarians reported higher nationalism (most notably national feelings and national superiority) and national identity than Romanian youth. We found a good fit for a path model in which strong feelings of nationalism lead to strong national identity in both groups. However, under the chosen model specification nationalism and identity were related to enhanced well-being of Romanian youth only, a relationship that needs further examination. We discuss our results and their implications in the concluding section of the paper.

Keywords: nationalism, national identity, psychological well-being, Romanian youth