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What Self-Aspects Appear Significant When Identity Is in Danger? Motives Crucial Under Identity Threat

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Identity construction is guided by certain motivational goals. A recently presented integrative model by Vignoles, Regalia, Manzi, Golledge, and Scabini (2006; Vignoles, 2011) postulates six fundamental motives: self-esteem, self-efficacy, continuity, distinctiveness, belonging, and meaning. Individuals are motivated to form their identity in accordance with them. Apart from a motivational basis, an actively constructed identity is also influenced by internal dialogical activity (Hermans, 2004), which is a mechanism of shaping internal complexity and dynamics. An experimental study was conducted to verify the crucial role of the key identity motives and dialogicality in a threatening situation. The research showed that losing identity aspects most connected with sense of meaning and self-esteem appeared especially distressing. The results indicated a predominant role of meaning motive and unexpected reaction to continuity threat. Internal dialogical activity was irrelevant for identity threat experience, despite its crucial role in identity dynamics under usual circumstances.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Applied Psychology, The Maria Grzegorzewska Academy of Special Education, Warsaw, Poland

Publication date: April 3, 2015

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