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.
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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.