Multiple roles and sense of identity among women in early and later adulthood

Aleksandra Pilarska


The article presents the results of a study conducted on a sample of 80 women aged 19-25 and 72 women aged 40-74. The relationships of the two components of self-complexity (the quantity of self-aspects and the amount of overlap between their contents) with the multidimensionally defined sense of identity were examined. Additionally, phase of life differences in the magnitude of these relationships were also investigated. I used the Self-Complexity Questionnaire (SCQ; Barczak, Besta, & Bazińska, 2007) and the Multidimensional Questionnaire of Identity (MQI; Pilarska, 2012). The obtained results showed that the predictive importance of the number of roles for the sense of identity was marginal, whereas the similarity in the content of roles seemed to favor maintaining the sense of identity. In addition, although significant differences were observed in the self--concept structure and the strength of the sense of identity between the two groups of women, the relationships between these areas of personality were not affected by the phase of the life cycle.


role overlap; sense of identity; multiple roles; self-complexity

Full Text:



Ahrens, C. C. i Ryff, C. D. (2006). Multiple roles and well-being: Sociodemographic and psychological moderators. Sex Roles, 55(11-12), 801-815.

Arnett, J. J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Barczak, A., Besta, T. i Bazińska, R. (2007). Model złożoności Ja w ujęciu Patricii Linville: predykcje teoretyczne i pomiar. Psychologia Jakości Życia, 6(1), 57-76.

Batory, A. (2012). Wielowymiarowe i dynamiczne ja podstawą tożsamości. Roczniki Psychologiczne, 15(4), 27-49.

Bauer, J. J., McAdams, D. P. i Sakaeda, A. R. (2005). Interpreting the good life: Growth memories in the lives of mature, happy people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(1), 203-217.

Baumeister, R. F. i Muraven, M. (1996). Identity as adaptation to social, cultural, and historical context. Journal of Adolescence, 19(5), 405-416.

Berzonsky, M. D. (2005). Ego-identity: A personal standpoint in a postmodern world. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 5(2), 125-136.

Berzonsky, M. D. (2008). Identity formation: The role of identity processing style and cognitive processes. Personality and Individual Differences, 44(3), 645-655.

Block, J. (1961). Ego-identity, role variability, and adjustment. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 25(5), 392-397.

Brown, G. i Rafaeli, E. (2007). Components of self-complexity as buffers for depressed mood. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 21(4), 310-333.

Campbell, J. D., Assanand, S. i Di Paula, A. (2003). The structure of the self-concept and its relation to psychological adjustment. Journal of Personality, 71(1), 115-140.

Cohen, L., Pane, N. i Smith, H. (1997). Complexity of the interpersonal self and affective reactions to interpersonal stressors in life and in the laboratory. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 21(4), 387-407.

Constantino, M. J., Wilson, K. R., Horowitz, L. M. i Pinel, E. C. (2006). The direct and stress-buffering effects of self-organization on psychological adjustment. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 25(3), 333-360.

Damon, W. i Hart, D. (1988). Self-understanding in childhood and adolescence. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Diehl, M., Hastings, C. T. i Stanton, J. M. (2001). Self-concept differentiation across the adult life span. Psychology and Aging, 16(4), 643-654.

Diehl, M. i Hay, E. L. (2010). Risk and resilience factors in coping with daily stress in adulthood: The role of age, self-concept incoherence, and personal control. Developmental Psychology, 46(5), 1132-1146.

Diehl, M. i Hay, E. L. (2011). Self-concept differentiation and self-concept clarity across adulthood: Associations with age and psychological well-being. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 73(2), 125-152.

Dixon, T. M. i Baumeister, R. F. (1991). Escaping the self: The moderating effect of self-complexity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17(4), 363-368.

Donahue, E. M., Robins, R. W., Roberts, B. W. i John, O. P. (1993). The divided self: Concurrent and longitudinal effects of psychological adjustment and social roles on self-concept differentiation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(5), 834-846.

Erdwins, C. J., Buffardi, L. C., Casper, W. J. i O’Brien, A. (2001). The relationship of women’s role strain to social support, role satisfaction, and self-efficacy. Family Relations, 50(3), 230-238.

Erikson, E. H. (2004). Tożsamość a cykl życia. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Zysk i S-ka.

Fry, P. S. i Debats, D. L. (2010). Sources of human life strengths, resilience, and health. W: P. S. Fry i C. L. M. Keyes (red.), New frontiers in resilient aging: Life-strengths and well-being in late life (s. 15-59). Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Gove, W. R., Ortega, S. T. i Style, C. B. (1989). The maturational and role perspectives on aging and self through the adult years: An empirical evaluation. American Journal of Sociology, 94(5), 1117-1145.

Gramzow, R. H., Sedikides, C., Panter, A. T. i Insko, C. A. (2000). Aspects of self-regulation and self-structure as predictors of perceived emotional distress. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26(2), 188-205.

Harter, S. (1998). The development of self-representation. W: W. Damon i N. Eisenberg (red.), Handbook of child psychology: Social, emotional and personality development (s. 553-617). New York, NY: Wiley.

Harwas-Napierała, B. (2007). Tożsamość jednostki w epoce współczesnych przemian. W: B. Harwas-Napierała i H. Liberska (red.), Tożsamość a współczesność. Nowe tendencje i zagrożenia (s. 11-24). Poznań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM.

Jordan, A. i Cole, D. A. (1996). Relation of depressive symptoms to the structure of self-knowledge in childhood. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105(4), 530-540.

Kelly, G. A. (1955). The psychology of personal constructs. New York, NY: Norton.

Kramer D. A. i Woodruff, D. S. (1986). Relativistic and dialectical thought in three adult age groups. Human Development, 29(5), 280-290.

Linville, P. W. (1985). Self-complexity and affective extremity: Don’t put all of your eggs in one cognitive basket. Social Cognition, 3(1), 94-120.

Linville, P. W. (1987). Self-complexity as a cognitive buffer against stress-related illness and depression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(4), 663-676.

Locke, K. D. (2003). Has a measure of complexity of social information processing. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 7(3), 268-280.

Luyckx, K., Schwartz, S. J., Goossens, L. i Pollock, S. (2008). Employment, sense of coherence and identity formation: Contextual and psychological processes on the pathway to sense of adulthood. Journal of Adolescent Research, 23(5), 566-591.

Marcia, J. E. (1966). Development and validation of ego identity status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3(5), 551-558.

McAdams, D. P. i McLean, K. C. (2013). Narrative identity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(3), 233-238.

McLean, K. C. (2008). Stories of the young and the old: Personal continuity and narrative identity. Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 254-264.

Mueller, J. H., Wonderlich, S. A. i Dugan, K. (1986). Self-referent processing of age specific material. Psychology and Aging, 1(4), 293-299.

Niedenthal, P. M., Setterlund, M. i Wherry, M. B. (1992). Possible self-complexity and affective reactions to goal-relevant evaluation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63(1), 5-16.

O’Laughlin, E. M. i Bischoff, L. G. (2005). Balancing parenthood and academia: Work/family stress as influenced by gender and tenure status. Journal of Family Issues, 26(1), 79-106.

Oleś, P. K. (2000). Psychologia przełomu życia. Lublin: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL.

Oleś, P. K. (2008). O różnych rodzajach tożsamości oraz ich stałości i zmianie. W: P. K. Oleś i A. Batory (red.), Tożsamość i jej przemiany a kultura (s. 41-84). Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL.

Pasupathi, M. i Mansour, E. (2006). Adult age differences in autobiographical reasoning in narratives. Developmental Psychology, 42(5), 798-808.

Pilarska, A. (2012). Wielowymiarowy Kwestionariusz Tożsamości. W: W. J. Paluchowski, A. Bujacz, P. Haładziński i L. Kaczmarek (red.), Nowoczesne metody badawcze w psychologii (s. 167-188). Poznań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe WNS UAM.

Pilarska, A. (2014). Self-construal as a mediator between identity structure and subjective well-being. Current Psychology, 33(2), 130-154.

Pilarska, A. i Suchańska, A. (2013). Strukturalne właściwości koncepcji siebie a poczucie tożsamości. Fakty i artefakty w pomiarze spójności i złożoności koncepcji siebie. Studia Psychologiczne, 51(2), 29-42.

Pilarska, A. i Suchańska, A. (2014). Identity processes and identity senses: Does self-complexity matter? W: K. Adamczyk i M. Wysota (red.), Functioning of young adults in a changing Word (s. 35-49). Kraków: Wydawnictwo Libron.

Pilarska, A. i Suchańska, A. (2015). Self-complexity and self-concept differentiation – What have we been measuring for the past 30 years? Current Psychology, 34(4), 723-743.

Rafaeli-Mor, E., Gotlib, I. A. i Revelle, W. (1999). The meaning and measurement of self-complexity. Personality and Individual Differences, 27(2), 341-356.

Rafaeli, E. i Hiller, A. (2010). Self-complexity: A source of resilience?. W: J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra i J. Hall (red.), Handbook of adult resilience (s. 171-192). New York, NJ: Guilford Press.

Reid, J. i Hardy, M. (1999). Multiple roles and well-being among midlife women: Testing role strain and role enhancement theories. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 54(6), 329-338.

Schwartz, S. J., Côté, J. E. i Arnett, J. J. (2005). Identity and agency in emerging adulthood: Two developmental routes in the individualization process. Youth & Society, 37(2), 201-229.

Sedikides, C. (1993). Assessment, enhancement, and verification determinants of the self-evaluation process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(2), 317-338.

Showers, C. J. (1992). Compartmentalization of positive and negative self-knowledge: Keeping bad apples out of the bunch. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62(6), 1036-1049.

Sokolik, M. (1996). Psychoanaliza i Ja. Warszawa: J. Santorski & Co.

Spreitzer, E., Snyder, E. E. i Larson, D. L. (1979). Multiple roles and psychological well-being. Sociological Focus, 12(2), 141-148.

Stephens, M. A. P., Franks, M. M. i Townsend, A. L. (1994). Stress and rewards in women’s multiple roles: The case of women in the middle. Psychology and Aging, 9(1), 45-52.

Straś-Romanowska, M. (2008). Tożsamość w czasach dekonstrukcji. W: B. Zimoń-Dubownik i M. Gamian-Wilk (red.), Oblicza tożsamości: perspektywa interdyscyplinarna (s. 19-30). Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Dolnośląskiej Szkoły Wyższej.

Styła, R., Jankowski, K. i Suszek, H. (2010). Skala niespójności Ja (SN-Ja). Studia Psychologiczne, 48(2), 31-43.

Suchańska, A. i Ligocka, M. (2011). Inklinacja narracyjna a złożoność Ja i tożsamość. Studia Psychologiczne, 49(2), 19-34.

Suchańska, A. i Worach, A. (2013). Złożoność koncepcji siebie a poczucie tożsamości. Roczniki Psychologiczne, 16(2), 199-233.

Swann, W. B. i Bosson, J. K. (2010). Self and identity. W: S. T. Fiske, D. T. Gilbert i G. Lindzey (red.), Handbook of social psychology (t. 1, s. 589-628). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons Inc.

Thoits, P. A. (2003). Personal agency in the accumulation of multiple identity-roles. W: P. J. Burke, T. J. Owens, R. Serpe i P. A. Thoits (red.), Advances in identity theory and research (s. 179-194). New York, NY: Kluwer/Plenum.

Vignoles, V. L., Regalia, C., Manzi, C., Golledge, J. i Scabini, E. (2006). Beyond self-esteem: Influence of multiple motives on identity construction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(2), 308-333.

Whitbourne, S. K., Sneed, J. R. i Skultety, K. M. (2002). Identity processes in adulthood: Theoretical and methodological challenges. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 2(1), 29-45.

Woolfolk, R. L., Novalany, J., Gara, M. A., Allen, L. A. i Polino, M. (1995). Self-complexity, self-evaluation, and depression: An examination of form and content within the self-schema. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(6), 1108-1120.

Zajonc, R. B. (1960). The process of cognitive tuning in communication. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 61, 159-167.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Roczniki Psychologiczne/Annals of Psychology

ISSN: 1507-7888   e-ISSN: 2451-4306

© Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL & Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II – Wydział Nauk Społecznych

Articles are licensed under a Creative Commons  Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)