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Autonomy support for nonconflictual and conflictual identities: effects on ownership and well-being

Weinstein, Netta ORCID:, Legate, Nicole, Ryan, William S, Sedikides, Constantine and Cozzolino, Philip 2017. Autonomy support for nonconflictual and conflictual identities: effects on ownership and well-being. Journal of Counseling Psychology 64 (5) , pp. 584-599. 10.1037/cou0000224

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Important others’ perceptions influence self-perceptions. This presents a challenge for the critical developmental task of integrating all aspects of identity, as identities that are devalued or stigmatized by society are harder to own than valued ones. Across 3 studies, we tested the idea that conflictual or stigmatized identities are harder to own, or integrate into the self, than are nonconflictual ones, and we examine how receiving autonomy support for an identity—support for authentic identity exploration and expression—can facilitate ownership of that identity. Cross-sectional (n = 543), experience-sampling (n = 66), and experimental methods (n = 209) tested the dynamics of autonomy-supportive others on identity ownership. Data from these studies converge to show that conflictual identities are indeed harder to own than nonconflictual ones, but that autonomy support predicts greater ownership and psychological health, especially for conflictual identities. In the final study, we replicate these dynamics in 3 identities stigmatized by society: sexual minority, ethnic minority, and gender minority identities. Findings reveal the importance of integrating all aspects of identity—particularly those that are conflictual or stigmatized—into one’s self-concept. We consider implications for counseling and clinical practice, as well as broadly for the psychological health of stigmatized individuals.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0022-0167
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 May 2017
Date of Acceptance: 1 March 2017
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 22:06

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