The Actualization Balance of Ethnic Identity

Gabriel Horenczyk*, Mordecai Nisan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The authors propose that individuals set limits to the actualization of their social and personal identities. Two studies investigated the notion of actualization balance, according to which identity-related decision making is affected by the actualization status of that identity. The first study found that people are more willing to allow nonactualization of Jewish ethnic identity to a person who recently actualized that identity than to an individual who has not done so. In the second study, American Jewish students were requested to volunteer for a Jewish cause. When participants had previously been given the opportunity to actualize their Jewish ethnic identity, fewer of them agreed to volunteer, as compared with participants who had been denied the opportunity to actualize that identity and also as compared with control participants. Previous nonactualizers also showed a stronger motivation to actualize their Jewish identity in a new situation than did participants in the control group.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)836-843
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996


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