This study explores the phenomenon of threatened identity that occurs because of significant, often abrupt changes in human life. As a result of a difficult experience, decision, change of cultural environment, loss of someone or something very important, an individual may feel he/she is someone different than before. Thus, establishing the continuity of one's personal identity may be a problem. In a report on this type of situation Glynis Breakwell (1986) proposes the term "threatened identity." She places it in the context of her structural model of identity. The present study is aimed at investigating possible images of threatened identity and characterizing them from the point of view of narrative sequences, the affective level and the ultimate - positive or negative - consequences of the individual's functioning. With regard to these aspects, five types of threatened identity have been distinguished from the empirical evidence: (1) the constructive re-evaluation, (2) the key experience, (3) the stable narrative sequence, (4) the seeking of power and autonomy and (5) the loss of part of oneself.
Adams, G. R. & Marshall, S. K. (1996). A developmental social psychology of identity: Understanding the person-in-context. Journal of Adolescence, 19, 429-442.
Batory, A. M. (2010). Dialogicality and the construction of identity. International Journal for Dialogical Science, 4, 45-66.
Berzonsky, M. D. (1994). Self-identity: The relationship between process and content. Journal of Research in Personality, 28, 453-460.
Berzonsky, M. D. (2003). The structure of identity: Commentary on Jane Kroger's view of identity status transition. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 3, 231-245.
Bosma, H. A. & Kunnen, E. S. (2001). Determinants and mechanisms in identity development: A review and synthesis. Developmental Review, 21, 39-66.
Breakwell, G. M. (1986). Coping with threatened identities. London: Methuen.
Cramer, P. (2004). Identity change in adulthood: The contribution of defense mechanisms and life experiences. Journal of Research in Personality, 38, 280-316.
DeMello, L. R. & Imms, T. (1999). Self-esteem, locus of control and coping styles and their relationship to school attitudes of adolescents. Psychological Studies, 44, 24-34.
Duval, T. S. & Silvia P. J. (2002). Self-awareness, probability of improvement, and the self-serving bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 49-61.
Epstein, S. (1991). Cognitive-experiential self-theory: An integrative theory of personality. In R. Curtis (Ed.), The relational self: Theoretical convergences in psychoanalysis and social psychology (pp. 111-137). New York: Guilford Press.
Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity, youth and crisis. New York: Norton.
Forthun, L. F., Montgomery, M. J., & Bell, N. J. (2006). Identity formation in a relational context: A person-centered analysis of troubled youth. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 6, 141-167.
Foster, J. D., Kernis, M. H., & Goldman, B. M. (2007). Linking adult attachment to self-esteem stability. Self and Identity, 6, 64-73.
Gergen, K. (1991) The saturated self: Dilemmas of identity in contemporary life. New York: Basic Books.
Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Hermans, H. J. M. (1989). The meaning of life as an organized process. Psychotherapy, 26, 11-22.
Hermans, H. J. M. (2000). Meaning as movement: The relativity of the mind. In G. T. Recker & K. Chamberlain (Eds.), Exploring existential meaning (pp. 23-38). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Hermans, H. J. M. & Dimaggio, G. (2007). Self, identity, and globalization in times of uncertainty: A dialogical analysis. Review of General Psychology, 11, 31-61.
Hermans, H. J. M. & Hermans-Jansen, E. (1995). Self-narratives: The construction of meaning in psychotherapy. New York: Guilford Press.
Hermans, H. J. M. & Hermans-Konopka, A. (2010). Dialogical self theory: Positioning and counter-positioning in a globalizing society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hermans, H. J. M., & Kempen H. J. G. (1993). The dialogical self: Meaning as movement. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
James, W. (1890). The principles of psychology (Vol. 1). London: Macmillan.
Kernis, M. H. (2003). Toward a conceptualization of optimal self-esteem. Psychological Inquiry, 14, 1-26.
Kernis, M. H. (2005). Measuring self-esteem in context: The importance of stability of self-esteem in psychological functioning. Journal of Personality, 73 (6), 1569-1605.
Kernis, M. H., Lakey, Ch.E., & Heppner, W. L. (2008). Secure versus fragile high self-esteem as a predictor of verbal defensiveness: Converging findings across three different markers. Journal of Personality, 76 (3), 477-512.
Kerpelman, J. L., Pittman, J. F., & Lamke, L. K. (1997). Toward a microprocess perspective on adolescent identity development: An identity control theory approach. Journal of Adolescent Research, 12, 325-346.
Kroger, J. & Haslett, S. J. (1991). A comparison of ego identity status transition pathways and change rates across five identity domains. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 32, 303-330.
Kunnen, E. S. (2006). Are conflicts the motor in identity change? Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 6, 169-186.
Ligorio, M. B. & Pugliese, A. C. (2004). Self-positioning in a text-based virtual environment. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 4, 337-353.
Marcia, J. E. (1966). Development and validation of ego-identity status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 551-558.
McAdams, D. P. (1989). The development of a narrative identity. In D. M. Buss, & N. Cantor (Eds.), Personality Psychology (pp. 160-174). New York: Springer Verlag.
McAdams, D. P. (1996). Narrating the self in adulthood. In J. E. Birren, G. M. Kenyon, J. E. Ruth, J. J. F. Schroots, & T. Svensson (Eds.), Aging and biography. Explorations in adult development (pp. 131-148). New York: Springer Publishing.
McAdams, D. P. (2001). The person: An integrated introduction to personality psychology (3rd ed.). Forth Worth: Hartcourt Brace College Publishers.
McAdams, D. P. (2006). The redemptive self: Stories Americans live by. New York: Oxford University Press.
McAdams, D. P. & Bowman, P. J. (2001). Narrating life's turning points: Redemption and contamination. In D. P. McAdams, R. Josselson, & A. Lieblich (Eds.), Turns in the road: Narrative studies of lives in transition (pp. 3-34). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
McAdams, D. P., Josselson R., & Lieblich A. (Eds.) (2001). Turns in the road: Narrative studies of lives in transition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Neimeyer, R. A. (Ed.) (2001). Meaning reconstruction and the experience of loss. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Neimeyer, R. A. (2005). Grief, loss, and the quest for meaning: Narrative contributions to bereavement care. Bereavement Care, 24, 27-30.
Neimeyer, R. A. (2006). Bereavement and the quest for meaning: Rewriting stories of loss and grief. Hellenic Journal of Psychology, 3, 181-188.
Ochberg, R. L. & Comeau, W. (2001). Moving up and the problem of explaining an "unreasonable" ambition. In D. P. McAdams, R. Josselson, & A. Lieblich (Eds.), Turns in the road: Narrative studies of lives in transition (pp. 121-149). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Oleś, P. K. (2008). O różnych rodzajach tożsamości oraz ich stałości i zmianie [Different types of identity]. In P. K. Oleś & A. Batory (Eds.), Tożsamość i jej przemiany a kultura [Identity and its changes and culture] (pp. 41-84). Warszawa, Lublin: I Wydział Nauk Spolecznych PAN, Wydawnictwo KUL.
Pollard, R. (2008). Dialogue and desire. Mikhail Bakhtin and the linguistic turn in psychotherapy. London: Karnac Books Ltd.
Raggatt, P. T. F. (2000). Mapping the dialogical self: Towards a rationale and method of assessment. European Journal of Personality, 14, 65-90.
Roberts, J. S., & Rosenwald, G. C. (2001). Ever upward and no turning back: Social mobility and identity formation among first-generation college students. In D. P. McAdams, R. Josselson, & A. Lieblich (Eds.), Turns in the road: Narrative studies of lives in transition (pp. 91-119). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Rowan, J., & Cooper, M. (Eds.), (1999). The plural self: Multiplicity in everyday life. London: Sage Publications.
Stemplewska-Zakowicz, K., Walecka, J., Gabinska, A., Zalewski, B., & Suszek, H. (2005). Experiments on positioning, positioning the experiments. In P. K. Oleś, & H. J. M. Hermans (Eds.), The dialogical self: Theory and research (pp. 183-199). Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL.
Swann, W. B., Jr. (1987). Identity negotiation: When two roads meet. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 1038-1051.
Tomkins, S. S. (1987). Script theory. In J. Aronoff, A. I. Rabin, & R. A. Zucker (Eds.), The emergence of personality (pp. 147-216). New York: Springer.
Van Halen, C., & Janssen, J. (2004). The usage of space in dialogical self-construction: From Dante to cyberspace. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 4, 389-405.
Vleioras, G. & Bosma, H. A. (2005). Predicting change in relational identity commitments: Exploration and emotions. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 5, 35-56.
Worden, J. W. (2009). Grief counseling and grief therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner. New York: Springer Publishing.