Between victory and peace: Unravelling the paradox of hope in intractable conflicts

Maor Shani*, Jonas R. Kunst, Gulnaz Anjum, Milan Obaidi, Oded Adomi Leshem, Roman Antonovsky, Maarten van Zalk, Eran Halperin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research on group-based hope has predominantly focused on positive intergroup outcomes, such as peace and harmony. In this paper, we demonstrate that hope experienced towards group-centric political outcomes, such as a victory in a conflict and defeating the enemy, can be detrimental to peace. In Study 1, conducted among Israeli Jews, hope for victory over the Palestinians was uniquely associated with more support for extreme war policies, whereas hope for peace generally showed the opposite associations. In Study 2, we replicated these results among Muslim Pakistanis regarding the Pakistan–India dispute. Notably, in both Studies 1 and 2, only hope for victory significantly predicted personal violent extremist intentions. In Study 3, conducted with a representative sample of Israeli Jews, we found three latent profiles of hope: victory hopers, peace hopers, and dual hopers (hoping for both peace and victory). Finally, in preregistered Study 4, we longitudinally investigated how hopes for victory and peace changed from a relatively calm period in 2021 to the Israel–Hamas War of 2023, utilizing a Bivariate Latent Change Score analysis. Increases in hope for victory during the highly intense war explained the increase in support for violence. We discuss implications, limitations, and directions for future research.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. British Journal of Social Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society.


  • group-based hope
  • intergroup conflict
  • intractable conflicts
  • political extremism
  • violence


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