A Darker Side of Hope: Harmony-Focused Hope Decreases Collective Action Intentions Among the Disadvantaged

Siwar Hasan-Aslih*, Ruthie Pliskin, Martijn van Zomeren, Eran Halperin, Tamar Saguy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Hope is viewed as a positive emotion associated with the motivation to change existing conditions. As such, it is highly relevant for social change, particularly when considering disadvantaged groups. We propose that, in the context of unequal intergroup relations, hope may actually undermine motivation for change among disadvantaged group members. Specifically, we distinguish between hope targeted at harmony with the outgroup and hope targeted at social equality between groups. Drawing on insights regarding the consequences of positive intergroup interactions, we predict that hope for harmony with the outgroup can undermine the constructive tension that motivates the disadvantaged toward equality. Across four studies, involving different intergroup contexts, hope for harmony was negatively associated with disadvantaged group members’ motivation for collective action. We further found that high identifiers from the disadvantaged group were immune to this effect. We discuss theoretical and practical implications for the role of hope in social change.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.


  • collective action
  • equality
  • harmony
  • hope
  • identification


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