The associations between national identity and adjustment: What can we learn from autobiographical narratives?

Efrat Sher-Censor*, Maya Benish-Weisman, Lior Gal, Shlomit Karni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study examined the interplay between national identity, autobiographical narratives on national identity and the adjustment of immigrant and majority groups in Israel. Participants were 193 Jewish Israelis (63.68% female; mean age 29.54 years); 51.29% immigrated from the Former Soviet Union and 48.71% were from native-born families. Participants reported the centrality of and private regard for national identity and provided autobiographical narratives on peak and nadir experiences of national identity. Narratives’ topics and themes of agency and communion were coded. Participants also reported positive adjustment (self-esteem, life satisfaction); negative adjustment (depression, anxiety symptoms); and civic engagement (voting, consumption of news about Israel). The immigrant group showed lower centrality of national identity, less positive adjustment, and lower civic engagement than the majority group. The groups significantly varied in narrative topics. Private regard for national identity was associated with better adjustment of both groups. Agency in peak narratives was associated with higher civic engagement of immigrants. Agency in nadir narratives was associated with more positive adjustment and less negative adjustment of immigrants and with higher civic engagement of both groups. The findings indicate that national identity is important in the adjustment of both immigrant and majority groups. It extends prior research by documenting the unique role of autobiographical experiences of national identity in adjustment.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)12-24
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
StatePublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Adjustment
  • Immigrants
  • Israel
  • Majority group
  • Narratives
  • National identity


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