Jewish identity and self-rejection : its impact on anti-Semitism, self-esteem and locus of control

There is a vast body of literature which has focused upon the relationship between Jewish self-rejectors and their extent of Jewish identification. Some studies have indicated the presence of anti-Semitism, lower self-esteem, and an external locus of control among these self-rejecting Jews, however, it has yet to be determined if there is a relationship among these variables. In addition, no study has focused upon the prediction value of these variables on Jewish identification or lack of it. The present study examines the relationship among Jewish identification, anti-Semitism, self-esteem, and locus of control, as well as how the latter three, can contribute to the prediction of Jewish identification. 101 subjects were recruited from the Psychology department, the Jewish studies department and the Crisis Intervention organization at California State University Northridge. The sample consisted of 57 females, 44 males, 71 undergraduates, and 30 graduate students; they ranged in age between 17 and 65 years of age. Subjects were administered the revised Anti-Semitism (A-S) scale, a brief biographical questionnaire, Brenner’s scale of Jewish Identification, Rosenberg’s Self Esteem scale, and Rotter’s Locus of Control scale. A Pearson correlation was performed among the anti-Semitism, the Jewish identification, the self-esteem, and the locus of control variables. A standard multiple regression was performed on Jewish identification using the above variables. The results demonstrated a statistically significant negative relationship between Jewish identification and identification and anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism was the only variable found to add significant predictability to Jewish identification. A statistically significant difference was found between the older and younger group in relationship to Jewish identification. The fact that the rest of the main hypotheses were not found to be supported, only adds to the perplexity surrounding what variables, or combinations thereof, are involved in the relationship between Jewish Identification and Jewish self-rejection.