Minority group membership and perceptions of self-help: Evidence from Israel

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This study explores the meanings associated with the term 'self-help' in the general Arab population in Israel. It compares these associated meanings across various groups created by several demographic variables. The Arab population in Israel numbers nearly one million, comprising 18% of the total population of the state. The study used a random sample of 250 participants, representative of the general Arab population in Israel. Data was collected in a telephone survey which lasted 3-7 minutes. Three themes surfaced as the most prevalent meanings associated with the concept 'self-help': the individual meaning, which refers to one's ability to solve one's own problems and to rely on one's own strengths and resources; helping the 'other'; and helping the needy. Significant differences in the associated meanings of the self-help concept related to level of education, marital status, and whether the respondent had heard of the self-help concept. The significance of the findings is discussed within several frames of reference. First, they are examined within the context of a particular minority culture which is constantly interacting with Israeli Jewish cultural values and is undergoing a change from traditional systems of values to modern Western ones. Second, the universal and particular attributes of the self-help phenomenon are outlined. Third, the initial developmental stages of self-help organizations within the Arab population living in Israel are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1996


  • Arab population in israel
  • Cultural change
  • Minority organisations
  • Self-help

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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