Defend, Deny, Distance, and Dismantle: A New Measure of Advantaged Identity Management

Eric Shuman, Martijn van Zomeren, Tamar Saguy, Eric Knowles, Eran Halperin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The experience of privilege can trigger psychological conflict among advantaged group members. Nonetheless, little work has explored strategies that advantaged group members use to manage their identities as privileged actors. Building on Knowles et al.’s framework and theories of intergroup relations, we address the conceptualization and measurement of advantaged group identity-management strategies. We aim to refine theorizing and validate a measure of these strategies across three contexts (U.S.’s White-Black relations, Israel’s Jewish-Arab/Palestinian relations, and U.S.’s gender relations). This process yielded two novel conceptual and empirical contributions. First, we add a strategy—defend—in which advantaged-group members overtly justify inequality. Second, we discover that distancing has two facets (distancing from inequality and from identity). Across six studies, we find support for our proposed factor structure, measurement invariance, and construct validity. We discuss how advantaged groups contend with privilege and offer a tool for studying these strategies across domains and contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • advantaged group
  • identity
  • identity management
  • social change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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