Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


One of the primary objectives of this study was to examine whether or not the same relationship pattern for adjustment, variability, and identity applies to a measure of a person's adjustment to their social relations hips (interpersonal adjustment) as to a measure of a person's internal state of adjustment (intrapersonal adjustment). Two differing viewpoints were evaluated. The theory of Hogan and Cheek (1983) that adjustment is related to development al sources of identity in which the greatest degree of adjustment (i.e., mature flexibility) is found in a person who strongly endorses both a social and personal identity orientation was tested against the views of Miller and Thayer (1988). The present study attempted but failed to provide a more definitive conclusion. The current inquiry failed because, rather than clearly supporting either Miller and Thayer (1988) or Hogan and Cheek (1983), it produced results that were distinctly different from either of those investigations. As a result, the relationship of identity and adjustment is still unresolved. The present study did not show either best or poorest adjustment for people who simultaneously endorse personal identity and social identity. It was found that people high on personal identity had the greatest tendency to exhibit the best adjustment while people low on social identity had the greatest tendency to report the poorest adjustment. This study gives support to the idea that a certain type of identity orientation is indeed related to high or low psychological adjustment. Furthermore, the better adjusted people of this sample professed an alignment with the inner aspects of the metaphor mentioned by Briggs and Cheek (1988) over the outer aspects of the metaphor, social identity. Two conceptually different measures of variability, a revised measure of identity orientations (personal and social), and two theoretically different measures of adjustment were included in this study. The principal means of analyses used by this study involved comparing groups, determined by classification variables, and the assessment of any differences among the groups on the two dependent measures of adjustment. Three multiple analyses of variance (MANOVA) were performed to effect these comparisons. All three involved a 3 (variability) X 2 (personal identity) X 2 (social identity) multiple analysis of variance on the two measures of adjustment. The differences between the three MANOVAs were the inclusion of a different variability measure in each. The results for the interpersonal and intrapersonal measures of adjustment were very similar rather than being dissimilar. The results of this study demonstrated that a multivariate main effect of personal identity on adjustment and a multivariate main effect of variability (found solely for one variability measure) on adjustment would not have been found without the inclusion of the interpersonal measure of adjustment. Consequently, the investigation of different aspects of adjustment in making conclusions about the relationship among identity and variability was demonstrated to be important. There were results that imply that variability affects interpersonal but not intrapersonal adjustment. At least on the interpersonal measure of adjustment and one of the variability measures employed by this study, those who were most flexible (i.e., most variable) were best adjusted and, thus in this query, variability was related to adjustment. This finding is consistent with the results of Paulhus and Martin (1988) who found their flexibility measure to correlate positively with self- esteem.


Kenneth Olson

Date of Award

Fall 1989

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1989 Rex D. Harman


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