Date of Award:

1982

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Gerald R. Adams

Co-Advisor/Chair:

William R. Dobson

Abstract

The purposes of the present research were to investigate the potential relationships between ego identity development, personality characteristics and social influence styles in college women. It was hypothesized that advanced identity development would be associated with more complex personality functioning and effective social influence behavior. Research subjects were classified according to identity status using The Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status. They responded to the Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Styleand engaged in a social influence task with a male or female confederate. The advanced statuses generally demonstrated more complex social-cognitive styles that allowed them to both process large amounts of stimulus information and maintain periods of private reflection of their thoughts and feelings. Conversely, the foreclosure women reported a cognitive style characterized by reduced attentional focus. In their social influence behavior, the advanced statuses employed more direct strategies and a wider repertoire of influence skills. When paired with a male confederate, the use of feminine sex-role stereotypic behavior, such as self-abasement, pleading and whining, increased with advanced identity status. The lower statuses utilized less desirable influence styles that were both placating and authoritarian. No relationship between personality characteristics and social influence style was observed in the present investigation. These findings provide tentative evidence for the relationship between advanced identity development and more complex cognitive and interpersonal styles. The potential effects of sex-role expectations in male-female influence situations were also explored.

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