Family boundaries; Identity; Identity structure; Identity style; Psychopathology; Self other differentiation
Research has long held that family of origin plays a significant, if not critical, role in mental health. The purpose of the present study was to provide theoretical evidence to support the feasibility of a new target for clinical intervention by demonstrating that identity style, the way individuals take in and process identity-relevant information, is a mediating factor between family cohesion and psychopathology. Secondly, this study aimed to provide empirical evidence for identity boundaries, or the cognitive barrier that dictates the assimilation and disposal of identity-relevant information, by linking identity style to one*s ability to differentiate the self from others. A total of 496 university students were surveyed using a self-report battery available via an online research database provided by the author*s institution. Results suggested that individuals adhering to the informational identity style had the highest degrees of self-other differentiation followed by the normative identity style and, finally, the diffuse-avoidant. Further, the diffuse-avoidant identity style (and by extension, diffuse identity boundaries) significantly and fully mediated the relationship between balanced family cohesion and psychopathology. Given that the diffuse-avoidant identity style is linked to a number of maladaptive decision-making and problem-solving strategies, interventions aimed at changing one*s ability to master their environment may have positive implications for the way that they amalgamate their sense of self which may, in turn, lead to improved functioning.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Ratner, Kaylin, "Boundaries: The Relationships among Family Structure, Identity Style, and Psychopathology" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 713.