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Published May 9, 2022 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Defend, Deny, Distance, and Dismantle: A Measure of How Advantaged Group Members Manage Their Identity


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Despite the social relevance of how members of historically advantaged groups understand and manage their advantaged identity, this topic has received surprisingly little empirical research attention within social psychology. However, Knowles et al., (2014) recently proposed a theoretical framework for understanding how white Americans manage their privileged identity in part to address this gap, but it has not yet been examined empirically. In this paper we validate a new measure that will allow this theoretical framework to be used in empirical work, and show that such processes occur within another advantaged group (i.e. not just white Americans), and in doing so expand on the Deny-Distance-Dismantle framework. Specifically, we add an additional identity management strategy, Defend, which refers to when advantaged group members overtly defend their status by justifying or legitimizing inequality. In addition, we uncover that Distancing is composed of two components (Distancing from Inequality and Distancing from Identity). Across 5 studies (total N = 3693) in two contexts (white-black race relations in the US and Jewish-Arab relations in Israel), we examine this scale’s structure and validity, and find strong support for our proposed factor structure and the construct validity of the measure. In addition, we establish measurement invariance indicating that the measure can be used across contexts. Cross-cultural differences between the US (white-black race relations) and Israel (Jewish-Arab relations) are discussed.


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PerInterv – Personalized Interventions to Improve Intergroup Relations and Promote Peace 864347
European Commission