Whereas running is an inherently independent form of exercise, it is often a social endeavor conducted in groups. We tested how group membership and social contexts were associated with running identities and behavior. In Study 1, 103 running group members read vignettes where they imagined training on their own or within their group. Group imagery participants reported stronger running identities and this effect was primarily evident among females. In Study 2, 227 runners reported running identity and behavior along with the extent that they run in formal and informal groups. Those who ran in both formal and informal groups reported stronger identities and increased behavior. These findings build upon identity theory to reveal how group membership is connected to personal identities.
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