Examining Self-Perceptions of Identity Change in Person, Role, and Social Identities

  • Michael J. CarterEmail author
  • Jen Marony


Recent work in the literature on identity has begun to examine differences in the operation of person, role, and social identities, and how each base of identity links to specific outcomes of the self. In this study we employ a cross-sectional research design and examine how individuals perceive that they have changed as a type of person, role player, and group member, and how these perceived changes link to specific outcomes of the self. An online survey was administered to 854 study participants to measure the magnitude and direction of change they perceived occurred in twelve discrete identities in a six-month period prior to completing the survey. The results show that in reflecting on their past experience, study participants perceived that they experienced more change in their role identities compared to their person and social identities. The results also show that the magnitude of perceived change in any type of identity relates to negative emotions, and when individuals perceive that their identity change is progressive in nature it relates to greater authenticity, self-efficacy, self-worth, and positive emotions. Implications of the findings are discussed.


Identity change Authenticity Self-efficacy Self-worth 



This study was funded by a grant from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at California State University, Northridge.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Author A declares that he/she has no conflict of interest. Author B declares that he/she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sociology DepartmentCalifornia State UniversityNorthridgeUSA

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