Advertisement

Who Am I and Why Does It Matter? Linking Personal Identity and Self-Concept Clarity

Chapter

Abstract

The present chapter discusses the overlap and interplay between personal identity and self-concept clarity. Personal identity is framed as an active agent, the “I,” that sorts through and organizes self-relevant information. Self-concept clarity is framed as the object, the “me,” that represents the self-conception being constructed. The I is framed as creating the me through a process of self-authorship, where self-verification processes assist in this authorship and create turning points when the me is not verified and is in need of change. Personal identity processes, such as exploration, commitment, and reconsideration, are posited as mechanisms through which self-concept clarity is developed and maintained. The chapter also examines domain specificity of personal identity and self-concept clarity, such that a person may be clearer about her−/himself in some areas but less so in others. The chapter concludes with implications for developing interventions to strengthen individuals’ sense of personal identity and self-concept clarity.

Keywords

Personal identity Self-concept clarity Exploration Reconsideration Commitment Narrative 

References

  1. Adams, G. R., & Marshall, S. K. (1996). A developmental social psychology of identity: Understanding the person-in-context. Journal of Adolescence, 19, 429–442.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Adler, J. M. (2012). Living into the story: Agency and coherence in a longitudinal study of narrative identity development and mental health over the course of psychotherapy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 367–389.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Azmitia, M., Syed, M., & Radmacher, K. (2008). On the intersection of personal and social identities: Introduction and evidence from a longitudinal study of emerging adults. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 120, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baumeister, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Krueger, J., & Vohs, K. D. (2003). Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 4(1), 1–44.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bennett, K. M. (2010). How to achieve resilience as an older widower: Turning points or gradual change? Ageing and Society, 30, 369–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berry, J. W., Phinney, J. S., Sam, D. L., & Vedder, P. (Eds.). (2006). Immigrant youth in cultural transition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  7. Błażek, M., & Besta, T. (2012). Self-concept clarity and religious orientation: Prediction of purpose in life and self-esteem. Journal of Religion and Health, 51, 947–960.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bosma, H. A., & Kunnen, E. S. (2001). Determinants and mechanisms in ego identity development: A review and synthesis. Developmental Review, 21, 39–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brittian, A. S., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., Lee, R. M., Zamboanga, B. L., Kim, S. Y., Weisskirch, R. S., … Caraway, S. J. (2013). The moderating role of centrality on associations between ethnic identity affirmation and ethnic minority college students’ mental health. Journal of American College Health, 61, 133–140.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Campbell, J. D., Trapnell, P. D., Heine, S. J., Katz, I. M., Lavallee, L. F., & Lehman, D. R. (1996). Self-concept clarity: Measurement, personality correlates, and cultural boundaries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 141–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cheek, J. M., & Briggs, S. R. (1982). Self-consciousness and aspects of identity. Journal of Research in Personality, 16, 401–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cinamon, R. G. (2006). Anticipated work-family conflict: Effects of gender, self-efficacy, and family background. Career Development Quarterly, 54, 202–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cooley, C. H. (1902). Human nature and the social order. New York, NY: Charles Scribner.Google Scholar
  14. Côté, J. E. (2000). Arrested adulthood: The changing nature of maturity and identity. New York, NY: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Crocetti, E., Rubini, M., & Meeus, W. (2008). Capturing the dynamics of identity formation in various ethnic groups: Development and validation of a three-dimensional model. Journal of Adolescence, 31, 207–222.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Crocetti, E., Schwartz, S. J., Fermani, A., Klimstra, T. A., & Meeus, W. (2012). A cross-national study of identity statuses in Dutch and Italian adolescents: Status distributions and correlates. European Psychologist, 17(3), 171–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian Psychology, 49, 182–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dennissen, J. J. A., Zarrett, N. R., & Eccles, J. S. (2007). I like to do it, I’m able, and I know I am: Longitudinal couplings between domain-specific achievement, self-concept, and interest. Child Development, 78, 430–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Destin, M., & Oyserman, D. (2010). Incentivizing education: Seeing schoolwork as an investment, not a chore. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 846–849.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Erikson, E. H. (1950). Childhood and society. New York, NY: Norton.Google Scholar
  21. Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York, NY: Norton.Google Scholar
  22. Ferrer-Wreder, L., Lorente, C. C., Kurtines, W., Briones, E., Bussell, J., Berman, S., & Arrufat, O. (2002). Promoting identity development in marginalized youth. Journal of Adolescent Research, 17, 168–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grant, A. M., Gino, F., & Hofmann, D. A. (2011). Reversing the extraverted leadership advantage: The role of employee proactivity. Academy of Management Journal, 54, 528–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grotevant, H. D. (1987). Toward a process model of identity formation. Journal of Adolescent Research, 2, 203–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Harter, S. (2008). The developing self. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Child and adolescent development: An advanced course (pp. 216–262). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Harter, S. (2012). The construction of the self: A developmental perspective (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
  27. James, W. (1890). Psychology. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett.Google Scholar
  28. Jun, J., & Kyle, G. T. (2011). The effect of identity conflict/facilitation on the experience of constraints to leisure and constraint negotiation. Leisure Research, 43, 176–204.Google Scholar
  29. Katz-Wise, S. L., Priess, H. A., & Hyde, J. S. (2010). Gender-role attitudes and behavior across the transition to parenthood. Developmental Psychology, 46, 18–28.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  30. Kerpelman, J. L., & Pittman, J. F. (2001). The instability of possible selves: Identity processes within late adolescents’ close peer relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 24, 491–512.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Klimstra, T. A., Luyckx, K., Hale, W. W., Frijns, T., van Lier, P. A. C., & Meeus, W. H. J. (2010). Short-term fluctuations in identity: Introducing a micro-level approach to identity formation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 191–202.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Klimstra, T. A., Luyckx, K., & Meeus, W. H. J. (2012). Personal identity in Belgium and The Netherlands. New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development, 138, 19–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kroger, J., & Marcia, J. E. (2011). The identity statuses: Origins, meanings, and interpretations. In S. J. Schwartz, K. Luyckx, & V. L. Vignoles (Eds.), Handbook of identity theory and research (pp. 31–53). New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Landau, M. J., Greenberg, J., Sullivan, D., Routledge, C., & Arndt, J. (2009). The protective identity: Evidence that mortality salience heightens the clarity and coherence of the self-concept. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 796–807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Leary, M. R., & Allen, A. B. (2011). Self-presentational persona: Simultaneous management of multiple impressions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1033–1049.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Leary, M. R., & Tangney, J. P. (2003). The self as an organizing construct in the behavioral and social sciences. In M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 3–14). New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
  37. Lichtwarck-Aschoff, A., van Geert, P., Bosma, H. A., & Kunnen, S. (2008). Time and identity: A framework for research and theory formation. Developmental Review, 28, 370–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Luyckx, K., Goossens, L., Soenens, B., & Beyers, W. (2006). Unpacking commitment and exploration: Preliminary validation of an integrative model of late adolescent identity formation. Journal of Adolescence, 29, 361–378.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Luyckx, K., Klimstra, T. A., Duriez, B., Van Petegem, S., & Beyers, W. (2013). Personal identity processes from adolescence through the late 20s: Age trends, functionality, and depressive symptoms. Social Development, 22, 701–721.Google Scholar
  40. Luyckx, K., Klimstra, T. A., Duriez, B., Van Petegem, S., Beyers, W., Teppers, E., & Goossens, L. (2013). Personal identity processes and self-esteem: Temporal sequences in high school and college students. Journal of Research in Personality, 47, 159–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Luyckx, K., Schwartz, S. J., Berzonsky, M. D., Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Smits, I., & Goossens, L. (2008). Capturing ruminative exploration: Extending the four-dimensional model of identity formation in late adolescence. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 58–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Luyckx, K., Soenens, B., Goossens, L., Beckx, K., & Wouters, S. (2008). Identity exploration and commitment in late adolescence: Correlates of perfectionism and mediating mechanisms on the pathway to well-being. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 27, 336–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lyons-Ruth, K. (2007). The interface between attachment and intersubjectivity: Perspective from the longitudinal study of disorganized attachment. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 4, 595–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Marcia, J. E. (1966). Development and validation of ego identity status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 551–558.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Marsh, H. W., & Martin, A. J. (2011). Academic self-concept and academic achievement: Relations and causal ordering. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 59–77.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Marsh, H. W., & O’Mara, A. (2008). Reciprocal effects between academic self-concept, self-esteem, achievement, and attainment over seven adolescent years: Unidimensional and multidimensional perspectives of self-concept. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 542–552.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Meca, A., Ritchie, R. A., Beyers, W., Schwartz, S. J., Picariello, S., Zamboanga, B. L., … Benitez, C. G. (2015). Identity centrality and psychosocial functioning: A person-centered approach. Emerging Adulthood, 3, 327–339.Google Scholar
  48. McAdams, D. P. (2013). The psychological self as actor, agent, and author. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8, 272–295.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. McAdams, D. P., & McLean, K. C. (2013). Narrative identity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22, 233–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. McLean, K. C., Pasupathi, M., & Pals, J. L. (2007). Selves creating stories creating selves: A process model of self-development. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11, 262–278.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. McLean, K. C., & Pratt, M. W. (2006). Life’s little (and big) lessons: Identity statuses and meaning-making in the turning point narratives of emerging adults. Developmental Psychology, 42, 714–722.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Michie, S., Johnston, M., Francis, J., Hardeman, W., & Eccles, M. (2008). From theory to intervention: Mapping theoretically derived behavioural determinants to behaviour change techniques. Applied Psychology, 57, 660–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. North, R. J., & Swann, W. B., Jr. (2009). Self-verification 360°: Illuminating the light and dark sides. Self and Identity, 8, 131–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Oyserman, D., & Destin, M. (2010). Identity-based motivation: Implications for intervention. The Counseling Psychologist, 38, 1001–1043.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  55. Pals, J. L. (2006). Narrative identity processing of difficult life experiences: Pathways of personality development and positive self-transformation in adulthood. Journal of Personality, 74, 1079–1109.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological Science, 8, 162–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ritchie, T. D., Sedikides, C., Wildschut, T., Arndt, J., & Gidron, Y. (2011). Self-concept clarity mediates the relation between stress and subjective well-being. Self and Identity, 10, 493–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Schachter, E. P. (2004). Identity configurations: A new perspective on identity formation in contemporary society. Journal of Personality, 72, 167–199.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Schwartz, S. J., Klimstra, T. A., Luyckx, K., Hale, W. W., III, Frijns, T., Oosterwegel, A., … Meeus, W. H. J. (2011). Daily dynamics of personal identity and self-concept clarity. European Journal of Personality, 25, 373–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schwartz, S. J., Klimstra, T. A., Luyckx, K., Hale, W. W., III, & Meeus, W. H. J. (2012). Characterizing the self-system over time in adolescence: Internal structure and associations with internalizing symptoms. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41, 1208–1225.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Schwartz, S. J., Kurtines, W. M., & Montgomery, M. J. (2005). A comparison of two strategies for facilitating identity formation processes in emerging adults: An exploratory study. Journal of Adolescent Research, 20, 309–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schwartz, S. J., Luyckx, K., & Vignoles, V. L. (Eds.). (2011). Handbook of identity theory and research. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  63. Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., Wang, W., & Olthuis, J. V. (2009). Measuring identity from an Eriksonian perspective: Two sides of the same coin? Journal of Personality Assessment, 91, 143–154.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Sellers, R. M., Smith, M. A., Shelton, J. N., Rowley, S. A. J., & Chavous, T. M. (1998). Multidimensional model of racial identity: A reconceptualization of African American racial identity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 18–39.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Swann, W. B., Jr. (2005). The self and identity negotiation. Interaction Studies, 6, 69–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Swann, W. B., Jr., Chang-Schneider, C., & Larsen McClarty, K. (2007). Do people’s self-views matter? Self-concept and self-esteem in everyday life. American Psychologist, 62, 84–94.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Syed, M., & McLean, K. C. (2016). Understanding identity integration: Theoretical, methodological, and applied issues. Journal of Adolescence, 47, 109–118.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Syed, M., Walker, L. H. M., Lee, R. M., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., Zamboanga, B. L., Schwartz, S. J., … Huynh, Q.-L. (2013). A two-factor model of ethnic identity exploration: Implications for identity coherence and well-being. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 19, 143–154.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Talley, A. E., & Stevens, J. E. (in press). Sexual orientation self-concept ambiguity: Scale adaptation and validation. Assessment, 24, 632–645.Google Scholar
  70. van Dijk, M. P. A., Branje, S. J. T., Keijsers, L., Hawk, S. T., Hale, W. W., III, & Meeus, W. H. J. (2014). Self-concept clarity across adolescence: Longitudinal associations with open communication with parents and internalizing symptoms. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43, 1861–1876.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Vignoles, V. L., Schwartz, S. J., & Luyckx, K. (2011). Introduction: Toward an integrative view of identity. In S. J. Schwartz, K. Luyckx, & V. L. Vignoles (Eds.), Handbook of identity theory and research (pp. 1–27). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  72. Vosylis, R., Erentaitė, R., & Crocetti, E. (in press). Global versus domain-specific identity processes: Which domains are more relevant for emerging adults? Emerging Adulthood.Google Scholar
  73. Waterman, A. S., & Schwartz, S. J. (2013). Eudaimonic identity theory. In A. S. Waterman (Ed.), The best within us: Positive psychology perspectives on eudaimonia (pp. 99–118). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Yeung, K.-T., & Martin, J. L. (2003). The looking glass self: An empirical test and elaboration. Social Forces, 81, 843–879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Zimmerman, B. J. (2008). Investigating self-regulation and motivation: Historical background, methodological developments, and future prospects. American Educational Research Journal, 45, 166–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MiamiCoral GablesUSA
  2. 2.Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

Personalised recommendations