This study investigated the development of national identification in children growing up in the Basque Country. The sample consisted of 246 children aged 6, 9, 12 and 15 years old who belonged to three linguistic subgroups: children who spoke only Basque with their parents in their home, children who spoke only Spanish in their home, and children who spoke both Basque and Spanish in their home. It was found that national identifications differed in the three linguistic subgroups. Furthermore, the three subgroups exhibited different evaluations of, and feelings towards, the national ingroup and a number of national outgroups. The positive and affective distinctiveness ascribed to the Basque and Spanish national groups was correlated with the strength of identification with the Basque and Spanish groups, respectively. The attitudes towards national outgroups which were exhibited by these children did not show any changes as a function of age. It is argued that the cognitive-developmental account of the development of national attitudes is unable to explain the patterns of findings which were obtained, but that social identity theory can explain the correlation between the strength of national identification and the positive and affective distinctiveness which was ascribed to the ingroup. Copyright (C) 2003 John Wiley Sons, Ltd
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