Identity resilience: its origins in identity processes and its role in coping with threat

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16 Citations (SciVal)


This paper describes a model of identity resilience developed within social psychology and derived specifically from the basic tenets of Identity Process Theory (IPT). Identity resilience refers to the extent to which an individual possesses an identity structure that: facilitates adaptive coping in the face of threat or uncertainty, can absorb change while retaining its subjective meaning and value, and is perceived to be able to cope with threat or trauma without experiencing permanent undesired change. Identity resilience is defined as a relatively stable self-schema based on self-esteem, self-efficacy, positive distinctiveness and continuity. This paper describes how identity resilience can be measured. It presents findings from two empirical studies: one on gay men of recollecting negative coming out experiences; the other on COVID-19 fear and perceived personal risk. Both provide evidence that greater identity resilience is associated with more adaptive reactions, less undesired identity change, and less negative affect after thinking about aversive experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-588
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Social Science
Issue number5
Early online date16 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


  • distinctiveness
  • identity continuity
  • Identity processes
  • identity resilience
  • self-efficacy
  • self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Social Sciences(all)


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