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The Effect of Identities and Expectations on Emotions, Behavior, and Cognitive Changes

  • Author(s): Trettevik, Ryan
  • Advisor(s): Stets, Jan E
  • et al.
Abstract

ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION

The Effect of Identities and Expectations on Emotions, Behavior, and Cognitive Changes

by

Ryan Parks Trettevik

Doctor of Philosophy, Graduate Program in Sociology

University of California, Riverside, June 2015

Dr. Jan E. Stets, Chairperson

This dissertation advances identity theory, a sociological theory focusing on one’s self-view and the emotions, behaviors, and cognitive changes that result when others view us in a manner that is different than we view ourselves. It also extends the control model of affect, a psychological theory focusing on goals and the emotions, behaviors, and cognitive changes that occur based on one’s rate of progress towards a goal relative to their expected rate of progress. I test each theory’s predictions of emotions, behavior, and cognitive changes as individuals work to confirm their self-views. I also examine how these processes operate simultaneously.

After collecting longitudinal survey data focusing on the student identity, I tested these predictions using structural equation modeling. The results indicate the discrepancies each theory focuses on independently influence the emotions individuals experience as they progress towards or away from identity verification. These discrepancies also lead to changes in one’s self-view, their expectations for their future rate of progress, and their behavior.

These findings extend identity theory by examining the rate at which individuals achieve verification and how this influences the emotions and behavioral outputs of the control process. This work also extends the control model of affect by showing how emotions, behavior, and cognitive changes emerge not only from the discrepancy between the rate of progress and expected rate of progress, as theorized, but also from the distance one is from achieving their goal, or identity verification. Further theoretical implications of these findings are discussed in the final chapter along with practical applications and recommendations for future research.

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