Evaluating models of identity motivation: self-esteem is not the whole story

Vivian L. Vignoles, Xenia Chryssochoou, Glynis M. Breakwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We tested the importance of motivational principles of maintaining self-esteem, distinctiveness, continuity and efficacy (Breakwell, 1993), as well as feelings of purpose and closeness to others, in shaping the perceived centrality of multiple elements of identity among Anglican parish priests. Participants (N = 149) generated identity elements and rated them for perceived centrality and satisfaction of each principle. Comparing multilevel regression models, satisfaction of the self-esteem principle predicted an estimated 32.5%, the four predictors of Breakwell's model 49.7%, and all six predictors 54.6% of the variance within participants in perceived centrality of the identity elements (all p < .001). We argue that distinctiveness, continuity, and efficacy should be given equal theoretical consideration to self-esteem as motives guiding identity processes (cf. Abrams & Hogg, 1988; Brewer, 1991; Deaux, 1993; Sedikides & Strube, 1997).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-218
JournalSelf and Identity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002


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