9 Values and Identity Process Theory:
theoretical integration and empirical
Anat Bardi , Rusi Jaspal , Ela Polek and
Shalom H. Schwartz
Identity and values are important driving forces in human lives. Identity
Process Theory (IPT; Breakwell, 1986 , 2001b ) and the Schwartz Value
Theory (Schwartz, 1992 ) focus on distinct but related aspects of the
self and have some overlapping propositions particularly with regards to
human motivation. Hence, it is surprising that there has been no attempt
so far to integrate them theoretically or empirically. This chapter provides
the rst attempt to address this gap in the literature. After presenting key
elements of both theories, the chapter provides a theoretical integration
that addresses the links between identity motives and outcomes and pro-
vides an empirical examination of the role of personal values as modera-
tors of such links. Finally, we address identity and value change.
Identity Process Theory
Identity Process Theory (IPT; Breakwell, 1986 , 1992 , 2001a , 2001b ,
2010 ; Jaspal and Cinnirella, 2010 ; Vignoles et al ., 2006 ) elucidates the
socio-psychological processes underlying identity construction and
change. It speci es the following: (1) the necessary requirements of a
positive identity; (2) the ways individuals cope with threats to identity;
and (3) what motivates individuals and groups to defend their sense of
self. IPT proposes that the structure of identity should be conceptualized
in terms of content and evaluation dimensions. The content dimension
of identity consists of a unique constellation of identities derived from
social experience. These identities can include group memberships (e.g.
British), individual traits (e.g. smart) and physical aspects (e.g. tall). The
evaluation dimension of an identity refers to the person’s sense of how
good or bad this identity is.
The work of Shalom H. Schwartz was partly supported by the HSE Basic Research
Program (International Laboratory of Sociocultural Research).
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Integrating theoretical frameworks176
Two universal processes regulate the identity structure: (1) the assim-
ilation–accommodation process and (2) the evaluation process.
Assimilation – accommodation refers to the assimilation of new informa-
tion and new identities into the identity structure (e.g. “I am gay”). This
sometimes requires accommodation and adjustment of existing compo-
nents of the identity structure (e.g. “If I am gay, can I still consider myself
a Muslim?”). The evaluation process refers to the process of evaluating
how good or bad the identity is (e.g. “I am not happy that I am gay.”).
Both individual (e.g. personal goals) and social (e.g. norms) factors play
a role in the evaluation process.
Breakwell ( 1986 , 1992 ) identi ed four identity motives, which she sees
as guiding these universal processes. These motives are desirable end-
states for identity. They include (1) continuity across time and situation
( continuity ); (2) uniqueness or distinctiveness from others ( distinctive-
ness ); (3) con dence and control of one’s life ( self-efficacy ) and (4) a sense
of personal worth or social value (self-esteem) . Extending IPT, Vignoles
and colleagues (Vignoles et al ., 2002 ; Vignoles et al ., 2006 ) proposed two
additional identity motives, namely (5) belonging – maintaining feelings
of closeness to and acceptance by other people and (6) meaning – nding
signi cance and purpose in one’s life . More recently, Jaspal and Cinnirella
( 2010 ) introduced (7) a psychological coherence motive – establishing feel-
ings of compatibility among one’s (interconnected) identities. IPT sug-
gests that identity is threatened whenever the social context frustrates
the satisfaction of any of the identity motives. Individuals utilize coping
strategies to minimize the threat. For instance, a Muslim man who feels
sexually attracted to other men may perceive his Muslim and gay iden-
tities as incompatible, thereby threatening psychological coherence. In
order to cope with the threat, he may deny both to himself and to others
that he is gay (Jaspal and Cinnirella, 2010 ).
Social representation, social change and identity processes
IPT integrates the intrapsychic, interpersonal and intergroup levels of
human interdependence. This is especially evident in IPT’s explicit rec-
ognition of the role of social representations in the psychosocial proc-
esses that underlie identity construction (Breakwell, 2001b ; Moscovici,
1988 ). For Breakwell ( 1986 , p. 55), a “social representation is essentially
a construction of reality” that enables individuals to interpret the social
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Theoretical integration and empirical interactions 177
world and to render it meaningful. Social representations emerge through
interpersonal and intergroup communication and shape the content and
evaluation dimensions of identity (Breakwell, 2001b ).
Furthermore, the social representational aspect of IPT enables under-
standing both personal and social change, because individual and pub-
lic understandings of speci c phenomena uctuate in accordance with
contexts. For instance, the historical representation of homosexuality
as a criminal and sinful act versus the contemporary representation of
homosexuality as a “normal” sexual orientation leads to distinct social
and psychological responses. The contemporary representation leads to
greater willingness to “come out” because it is less threatening for self-
esteem and may no longer be seen as jeopardizing one’s sense of belong-
ing in relevant social circles (Jaspal and Siraj, 2011 ). Hence, changes in
social representations are vital for understanding identity processes.
The theory hypothesizes that the impact of social change on identity
is contingent on three main factors. First of all, the impact is greater the
more personally relevant the social change. Thus, the Arab Spring in the
Middle East doubtless affected identity continuity more for Egyptians
and Tunisians than for citizens of Russia, for example. Secondly, social
changes vary in their demands for revising the content and evaluation
of particular identities. The “Black is Beautiful” campaign in the USA
brought about a re-evaluation of the meaning of being black for black
people, transforming it into a source of self-esteem rather than a threat
(Ward and Braun, 1972 ). Thirdly, it is important to consider how people
themselves evaluate the change. In rural India, probably as a result of
different implications for self-esteem, lower caste group members might
evaluate the state-endorsed dismantlement of the caste system as a posi-
tive social change, while higher caste group members are generally said
to evaluate this negatively (Jodhka, 2004 ; Ram, 2004 ).
Social change can radically change the meaning of identities as it can
reshape the social representation of a stimulus or social position. For
example, social change to the status of a group could transform an iden-
tity once experienced as threatening to one’s self-esteem into one that
enhances it. It thereby impacts the motivations for the self-ef cacy, self-
esteem, continuity and other identity motives associated with particular
identities. In this way, social change affects the degree of centrality of
individuals’ different identities.
Identity motives and perceived centrality
According to IPT, the identity structure consists of multiple, intercon-
nected identities, which vary in perceived centrality . Centrality of an iden-
tity includes three dimensions: (1) the importance of the identity; (2) the
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Integrating theoretical frameworks178
affective evaluation of the identity (i.e. the degree to which one is happy
about having it); and (3) the enactment of the identity in everyday actions
and interpersonal encounters. Vignoles ( 2011 ) suggests that enactment
of an identity differs from the more cognitive evaluative components
(importance and affect). He notes that one can consider an identity to
be important and can be happy with it but still refrain from enacting it
publicly because of normative pressures or other reasons.
Vignoles et al . ( 2002 ) suggest that identities that best satisfy the iden-
tity motives are perceived as most central to the identity structure. Thus,
the more a given identity is perceived by the individual as a source of self-
esteem, self-ef cacy, distinctiveness, meaning, continuity, belonging and
psychological coherence, the more central it will be in the individual’s
identity structure. This suggestion has received considerable empirical
support (Vignoles et al ., 2002 ; Vignoles et al ., 2006 ).
Breakwell ( 2010 ) suggests that the relative signi cance of identity
motives in affecting identity outcomes may be culturally speci c. Social
representations are speci c to particular social contexts and, thus, it is
likely that different motives will be more or less important in particu-
lar cultural contexts. For instance, in a study of national and ethnic
identity management among British South Asians (Jaspal, 2011 ), the
importance of the ethnic identity was predicted by the continuity and
distinctiveness motives but not by the self-ef cacy motive. Hence, cen-
trality does not necessarily depend on the extent to which a given iden-
tity satis es all of the identity motives. Rather, it may be necessary to
identify the motives that are more important individually or culturally
and are hence more likely to enhance a person’s identity and psycho-
This chapter presents a novel approach to the relationship between
identity motives and the centrality of the identities that satisfy these
motives. It examines a possible individual-difference dimension to IPT.
It tests the hypothesis that individuals’ value priorities moderate the rela-
tionship between satisfying identity motives and the centrality of the
identity. We suggest that the importance of the different identity motives
depends on individuals’ personal values. If the centrality of an identity
depends on satisfying an identity motive that an individual considers
important because of her values and that motive is jeopardized, the iden-
tity will be threatened. If, as a result of her values, she does not consider
an identity motive important, jeopardizing that motive may not translate
into identity threat. By testing hypotheses based on this idea, we hope to
reveal why identities differ in centrality. This can contribute to debates
regarding “core” identities and multiple identi cation (Deaux, 1993 ;
Hofmann, 1988 ; Jaspal and Cinnirella, 2010 ).
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Theoretical integration and empirical interactions 179
The Schwartz Value Theory
To test our suggestion we draw on the Schwartz Value Theory ( 1992 ).
It de nes basic values as broad life goals that serve as guiding principles
in people’s lives (e.g. achievement, tradition). Values are relatively sta-
ble. They underlie and are expressed in people’s evaluations, attitudes,
behaviors and speci c goals. They therefore have an overarching effect
on people’s lives.
Schwartz ( 1992 ) de ned ten distinct broad values, organized in the
quasi-circumplex structure portrayed in Figure 9.1 . This structure has
been validated empirically in seventy- ve countries around the world
(Schwartz, 2011 ). Values that are adjacent in the circle express com-
patible motivations and have positive empirical correlations (Schwartz,
1992 ). For example, conformity values express the motivation to ful-
ll others’ expectations. Adjacent in the circle are security values that
express the motivation to maintain safety of one’s self, one’s personal
relationships and one’s society . These two motivations share an emphasis
on maintaining order and harmony that makes them motivationally
compatible and positively correlated. In contrast, values that emanate
from opposite sides of the center express con icting motivations and
have negative empirical correlations. For example, self-direction values
express the motivation for independent thought and action, a motiv-
ation that con icts with the motivation to ful l others’ expectations that
underlies conformity values. Hence, these two values are conceptually
opposed and negatively correlated.
Why are adjacent values correlated positively whereas values from
opposite sides of the center are not? Schwartz ( 1992 ) explains this
by drawing on the implications that values have for evaluations and
behaviors. Values that express compatible motivations lead to simi-
lar evaluations and similar behaviors. For example, the adjacent values
of conformity and security are likely to induce negative evaluations of
change and to promote normative and conservative behavior. Values that
emanate from opposite sides of the circle express con icting motivations
and lead to opposing effects on evaluations and behaviors. Thus, in con-
trast to the negative evaluation of change and normative behaviors that
conformity values induce, self-direction values are likely to induce posi-
tive evaluations of change and may lead to non-normative behavior. Not
only is it psychologically inconsistent to pursue motivationally opposed
values in a single behavior or evaluation, but it is both practically dif -
cult and socially inappropriate. It is more pleasant and easier to act in a
motivationally consistent manner that expresses compatible values. Most
people therefore hold value priorities that correspond to the circular
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Integrating theoretical frameworks180
empirical structure of associations among values in Figure 9.1 . When
comparing people to one another, we nd that people tend to attribute
similar relative levels of importance to adjacent values in the circle and
different relative levels of importance to opposing values.
The circle of values can be further divided into four higher order types
of values that are ordered as two bipolar dimensions (see Figure 9.1 ).
Conformity, security and tradition values are grouped as conservation
values . They express a motivation to maintain a stable, harmonious
status quo in relationships, in one’s surroundings and life and in soci-
ety. Conservation values con ict motivationally with stimulation, self-
direction and, usually, hedonism values that are grouped as openness to
change values. These values express a motivation for change, variety and
challenge in ideas or actions. The second bipolar dimension contrasts
self-enhancement values (power, achievement and, sometimes, hedonism)
with self-transcendence values (benevolence and universalism). The former
express a motivation to enhance one’s self, even at the expense of others;
the latter express a motivation to promote the well-being of others and
of the natural world.
1 For additional factors that account for the structure of relations among values, see
Schwartz ( 2006 ).
Circle Organized by Motivational Congruence and Opposition
Figure 9.1. Ten motivationally distinct values and their circular motiv-
ational structure (Adapted from Schwartz, 2012 )
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Theoretical integration and empirical interactions 181
A review by Bardi and Goodwin ( 2011 ) indicates that values are rela-
tively stable and resistant to change. Values can be seen as core schemas.
What people perceive in situations, what they remember and how they
behave are all in uenced by their core schemas. Ample research (reviewed
in Cooper and Shallice, 2006 ; Janoff-Bulman, 1989 ) demonstrates that
people pay less attention to peripheral schemas than to core schemas, so
new values that may be salient in the environment may not enter aware-
ness. All these processes lead to and reinforce the stability of important
values and other core schemas. Therefore, a stable state is the default for
values: Values start to change only if some exogenous event initiates a
process of value change. Even if an event initiates value change, however,
the dominance of core schemas sets many factors in motion that can
block the change before it reaches completion. Nonetheless, values do
Bardi and Goodwin ( 2011 ) suggest that values change through two
main routes, an automatic route and an effortful route. In the automatic
route, an external event activates new values (e.g. messages of a newly
elected government activate conservative values; immigrating to a coun-
try in a more individualistic culture activates individualistic values; a
baby’s cries activate parents’ kindness values). Because these values are
activated automatically and repeatedly, the person may not be aware that
this is happening and may therefore not generate counter-arguments to
oppose change. Every time the value is activated, the relevant schema
is strengthened until it becomes a core schema, thereby creating value
In the effortful route, events make a new value suf ciently salient to
draw people’s active attention and thought. This happens, for example,
when a new group overtly discusses a value, when the government intro-
duces a controversial new policy with clear value implications, or when
people are subjected to direct persuasion attempts. If, after consciously
thinking about and re-evaluating the value, people are convinced that the
value is more (or less) important than they previously thought, then the
importance of that value starts to change. And if such re-evaluation is
stimulated repeatedly, long-term value change occurs.
Changes in speci c values re ect their embeddedness in larger cog-
nitive/affective structures such as people’s systems of values and beliefs.
Thus, an increase in the importance of one value is accompanied by
increases in compatible values (adjacent values in the circle) and decreases
in con icting values (values that emanate from the opposite side of the
circle). Both longitudinal studies (Bardi et al ., 2009 ) and a laboratory
experiment (Maio et al ., 2009 ) have shown this. Moreover, when beliefs
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Integrating theoretical frameworks182
change, values may change to maintain compatibility with those beliefs.
A study of migrants’ adjustment to a new country (Goodwin et al ., 2012 )
found that prior values predicted a changes in beliefs toward more value-
compatible beliefs and that prior beliefs predicted value change toward
more belief-compatible values. We next integrate IPT with the Schwartz
Value Theory in order to advance the understanding and utility of both
IPT and values: theoretical integration and some
Values add an individual-difference dimension to IPT
IPT identi es the processes that all individuals experience in de ning and
defending their identities, moderated by culture and context. In contrast,
the theory of basic values is used to identify differences among individ-
uals in the priority they attribute to motivationally distinct values. Hence,
the theory of basic values can add an individual-difference dimension to
understanding identity processes and thereby enrich IPT. Because value
priorities affect perceptions, social representations and evaluations, it is
plausible that values also affect the relations between identity motives
(e.g. continuity) and identity outcomes (e.g. identity evaluation) and
relations among people’s identity motives (e.g. continuity and distinct-
iveness). We next specify our expectations for effects of values on identity
processes and then assess them empirically.
Values, continuity and evaluation Individuals who give high
priority to conservation values tend to give low priority to openness to
change values. They attribute importance to preserving the status quo
in their world, they respect and try to maintain traditions and they try
to avoid new ideas and experiences. Therefore, they should consider
especially important those identities that provide them with a sense of
continuity with the past that promises to stretch into the future. They
may also feel happier with such identities. Hence, we expect the value
dimension of conservation versus openness to change to moderate the
link between the perceived continuity of an identity and the evaluation
of that identity.
Values, distinctiveness and evaluation If conservation values
enhance the impact of continuity on the evaluation of identities, we
might expect openness to change values to enhance the impact of the dis-
tinctiveness motive on the evaluation of identities. Openness to change
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Theoretical integration and empirical interactions 183
values encourages the pursuit of novel experiences and original and cre-
ative ideas and actions that may make one distinctive. Hence, those who
value openness to change might evaluate identities that provide a sense
of distinctiveness as especially important. However, two aspects of dis-
tinctiveness raise problems for this prediction.
First of all, one’s individual identities are not the only potential
sources of a sense of distinctiveness. Rather, the group identities one
derives from af liating with different groups can also provide a sense
of distinctiveness, if the group is viewed as having unique qualities, that
is, as distinctive (Vignoles et al ., 2000 ). Many identities (e.g. psycholo-
gist, dancer, lawyer) can be experienced both as individual difference
attributes and as group af liation attributes. When thinking about such
identities, people may seek to satisfy their distinctiveness motive through
focusing on either group or individual distinctiveness or both. Secondly,
different types of distinctiveness may interact differently with openness
versus conservation values. Vignoles et al . ( 2000 ) proposed and found
three types of distinctiveness motives, being different, being separate, or
being in a distinctive (typically high) social position. They found that the
motivation to be different is more prevalent in cultures that emphasize
openness to change versus conservation values; whereas the motivation
to hold a distinctive social position is more prevalent in cultures that
emphasize conservation versus openness values. These complexities may
prevent a simple moderation of distinctiveness effects by values. Finally,
the distinctiveness motive can also be seen as a basic epistemic need,
as without knowing what one is not it is hard to understand what one
is (e.g. understanding “kind” is impossible without understanding what
is “cruel”) (Vignoles, 2011 ; Vignoles et al ., 2000 ). Although we offer no
prediction for how openness to change versus conservation values may
affect the relation between the distinctiveness motive and identity evalu-
ation, we assess the possibility of such a moderation effect.
Values, distinctiveness and belonging As noted above, the distinct-
iveness motive can nd expression through one’s individual uniqueness
or through the uniqueness of groups to which one belongs. One can
have a distinctive individual identity and/or a distinctive group identity.
Individuals’ value priorities may in uence the extent to which people
identify with the groups to which they belong. Those who give high pri-
ority to conservation values (versus openness) probably tend to think
of themselves in terms of group af liations (Cohen and Shamai, 2010 ;
Meyer et al ., 2002 ). Hence, they may identify more strongly with their
membership groups (see evidence in Roccas et al ., 2010 , regarding
national identi cation). We therefore hypothesize that individuals who
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Integrating theoretical frameworks184
attribute more importance to conservation values are more likely to draw
their sense of identity distinctiveness from their group belonging. Hence,
the conservation versus openness value dimension should moderate the
link between distinctiveness and belonging. For those who value conser-
vation, the distinctiveness of an identity should be associated with deriv-
ing a sense of belonging from the identity.
Values, belonging and evaluation As noted, people who value
conservation versus openness identify more with groups, presumably
because belonging enables them to feel more socially grounded and
secure (Roccas et al ., 2010 ). This implies that the sense of belonging that
a group identity provides is more important to people who value conser-
vation. Hence, for those who value conservation, their group belonging
should relate more strongly to their evaluation of their group identity. We
therefore predict that the conservation versus openness value dimension
moderates the relation between the sense of belonging an identity pro-
vides and the evaluation of that identity.
Conformity values, belonging, self-efficacy and identity enactment In
addition to the evaluation of an identity, Vignoles ( 2011 ) suggest that
identity enactment is another important outcome of identity motives.
Identity enactment refers to displaying the identity through behavior.
Vignoles proposed and found that the more an identity satis es iden-
tity motives, the more people tend to enact that identity in public. He
further proposed that the identity motives of self-ef cacy and belonging
are particularly important determinants of the extent to which people
enact their identities in public. This is because feeling capable (as in self-
ef cacy) facilitates identity enactment and feeling accepted by others (as
in the belonging motive) reduces fear that the enacted identity will be
We suggest that conformity values moderate the relations of identity
enactment to self-ef cacy and belonging. Of the ten basic values, con-
formity values seem most relevant to the decision of whether or not to
enact an identity in public. This is because conformity values express
the motivation to ful ll others’ expectations and to avoid confronta-
tions (Schwartz, 1992 ). Thus, conformity values are especially import-
ant guides for public behavior. For those who value conformity highly,
the motivation to enact an identity in public should depend especially
strongly on the extent to which that identity will provide a sense of com-
petence (self-ef cacy) and a sense of acceptance (belonging). We there-
fore hypothesize that conformity values moderate the association of
identity enactment with self-ef cacy and belonging.
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Theoretical integration and empirical interactions 185
To test our hypotheses we used a varied sample of 156 adults (42 per-
cent men, aged 18–79 years, M = 35.19, SD = 15.32). Participants rst
completed the most recent version of the Schwartz Value Survey (SVS),
in which each of fty-seven values is followed by a short de nition (e.g.
“FAMILY SECURITY (safety for loved ones)” measures security values)
(Schwartz et al ., 2000 ). Participants rated the importance of each value
as a guiding principle in their lives on a scale from −1 (opposed to my
principles) to 7 (of supreme importance); 3–8 value items measure each
of the broad values (security, conformity, etc.). We computed the value
dimension of conservation versus openness to change values by subtract-
ing the mean rating of the self-direction and stimulation values from the
mean rating of the conformity, security and tradition values.
Participants then completed the IMQ (Vignoles et al ., 2006 ) which
asks them to list eight of their identities and to provide, for each, a rating
of nine identity outcomes and motives: importance of the identity, hap-
piness with the identity, how much they show it in public, how much the
identity gives them a sense that their life is meaningful, how much the
identity provides them with a sense of belonging, self-esteem, continuity,
distinctiveness and self-ef cacy. The answer scale ranged from 0 (not at
all) to 10 (extremely) (Vignoles et al ., 2006 ).
The study design entailed a nested data structure with two distinct lev-
els of analysis: Level-1 was the repeated within-person measurement of
identity outcomes and motives. Level-2 was the between-person meas-
urement of the ten basic values.
2 Following Vignoles ( 2004 ), we used
multilevel regression modeling. This modelled variance simultaneously
on the two levels, thereby providing more accurate and reliable estimates
of the nested data structure (Hox, 1995 ). Following the relevant advice
in the literature, prior to all analyses, we centered each level-1 variable
around individual’s own means (see Vignoles, 2004 ) and centered values
around both individual’s means (see Schwartz, 1992 ) and the sample
mean (as required in analyzing interactions between continuous vari-
ables; see Aiken and West, 1991 ).
Table 9.1 reports the Pearson correlations between the level-1 iden-
tity outcomes and motives. Note that the signi cance values in the table
re ect the multilevel data structure and may therefore be misleading.
Nevertheless, the correlations provide an overall sense of the relations
2 We did not adopt a traditional multiple regression approach because that would ignore
the clustering of identity outcomes and motives within individuals and lead to an under-
estimation of error variance and an increased probability of Type I errors.
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Integrating theoretical frameworks186
among the identity motives and outcomes. As expected by IPT and
found previously (Vignoles, 2004 ; Vignoles, Regalia, Manzi, et al ., 2006 ),
the correlations among all the identity motives and outcomes are positive
and moderate to high. This pattern may be owing to the fact that and all
nine constructs relate to the self and people are likely to see themselves
as internally consistent. Moreover, there may be a general positivity fac-
tor for identities that may colour all of these outcomes and motives.
However, such a “halo effect” is only partial. Had it been strong, we
would not have obtained the results presented here.
Our hypotheses focus on interactions between values (level-2) and
identity motives (level-1). Thus, we expect that the beta slopes in the
level-1 regressions of identity outcomes (e.g. centrality, happiness) on
identity motives (e.g. continuity) will differ across individuals, depend-
ing on the priority they give to particular values (level-2). We therefore
estimate cross-level interactions by computing random effects models that
allow beta slopes to vary across different levels of the level-2 variable
(Snijders and Bosker, 1999 ). To aid in interpreting effects, we follow the
common procedure of plotting the results of the cross-level interactions
graphically. The graphs display low (below −1 SD), average (between
−1 and +1 SD) and high (above +1 SD) values of the level-2 moder-
ator associated with each of the simple slopes of level-1 predictors and
Table 9.1. Zero-order correlations between ratings of identity outcomes
and motives (N = 1,248) on level-1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Importance 1
2. Happiness .46
3. Showing .33
4. Meaning .44
5. Belong .37
6. Self-esteem .41
7. Continuity .31
8. Distinctivness .31
9. Self-ef cacy .32
Note: Signi cance levels: * p < 0.05 ; ** p < 0.001
3 Regression lines depicted on Figures 9.2 , 9.3 and 9.4 only aid the graphing effects.
Interpretation of graphs that show cross-level interactions differs from interpretation of
graphs that show interactions in multivariate regression. No inferential tests apply here to
test the signi cance of the simple slopes (Snijders and Bosker, 1999 ).
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Theoretical integration and empirical interactions 187
Model 1: Continuity predicting centrality
(below +1 SD)
(between +1 and −1 SD)
(above +1 SD)
2.00 4.00 6.00
(below +1 SD)
(between +1 and −1 SD)
(above +1 SD)
Model 4: Distinctiveness predicting belonging
Figure 9.2. Moderation effect of conservation (vs. openness)
Values, continuity and evaluation As expected, the conservation
versus openness to change value dimension moderated the relations of
continuity with evaluation, both for the evaluation component of import-
ance and for the component of happiness with the identity ( Table 9.2 ,
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Integrating theoretical frameworks188
models 1 and 2), but it did not moderate the relation of continuity with
identity enactment. The top panel of Figure 9.2 shows the moderation
in predicting the importance of the identity. Speci cally, it shows that,
for those who value conservation (versus openness), the more an identity
provides them with a sense of continuity, the more important that iden-
tity is to them. In contrast, for those who tend to attribute little import-
ance to conservation (versus openness) values, the extent to which an
identity provides them with a sense of continuity matters little for the
importance of the identity. The interaction graph for the affective evalu-
ation of the identity is very similar.
Although the meaning that an identity provides is seen as an iden-
tity motive rather than an outcome of identity motives (e.g. Vignoles,
2011 ), we believe it is also logical to view the meaning of an identity as
an outcome. This is because the satisfaction of an identity motive can
also lead to the perception of the identity as providing meaning (see
Vignoles, 2011 , with regard to continuity and meaning), particularly if it
helps people to ful ll their values. Speci cally, with regard to continuity
and the values of conservation versus openness, we would expect that the
more an identity provides people who value conservation (versus open-
ness) with a sense of continuity, the more they would see the identity as
providing them with meaning. However, we do not expect this to be the
case for those who attribute little importance to conservation (versus
openness) values. This moderation effect was indeed signi cant in the
expected direction (model 3 in Table 9.2 ). Its graph (not shown) was
similar to the one shown for importance. Thus, the more people tend
to value conservation (versus openness), the greater the positive associ-
ation between the continuity that an identity provides and its perceived
Values, distinctiveness and evaluation Conservation versus open-
ness values did not moderate the relation between distinctiveness and
identity evaluation. This converges with Becker et al .’s ( 2012 ) ndings
from adolescents in nineteen countries around the world.
Values, distinctiveness and belonging Conservation versus open-
ness moderated the link between distinctiveness and belonging (see
model 4 in Table 9.2 ). The bottom panel of Figure 9.2 shows that, as
expected, distinctiveness and belonging correlated positively among
individuals who tend to value conservation (versus openness). In con-
trast, these identity motives were not correlated among those who tend
4 All graphs are available from the authors.
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Table 9.2. Estimated standardized regression weights in multilevel regression in which identity motives and out-
comes (level-1) were nested within participants (level-2: N = 1248) (Method: random slopes )
( df =10)
Value × Identity
1 −.06* .08 .05* −1679.117 1.00 0.03
2 .05 −.04 .06* −1811.538 1.24 0.07
3 −.07* −.01 .09* −1944.578 1.70 0.08
4 −.12** .08 .09* −1979.998 1.55 0.05
Conformity Self-esteem ൺ
5 −.10* .14** .12* −1750.819 1.70 0.02
6 −.15** .34* .15** −1745.073 1.70 0.03
Self-ef cacy ൺ
7 −.07* .24* .12** −1777.867 1.70 0.02
8 −.08* .13 .08* −1638.196 1.00 0.02
9 −.02 .22 * .09* −1675.441 1.24 0.00
10 −.03 .06 .10* −1786.488 1.70 0.02
11 −.06 .15* .10* −1755.654 1.14 0.01
9781107022706c09_p175-200.indd 1899781107022706c09_p175-200.indd 189 11/8/2013 2:01:45 PM11/8/2013 2:01:45 PM
( df =10)
Value × Identity
Security Continuity ൺ
12 −.06 .25** .10** −1801.330 1.14 0.01
13 −.03 .15** .09* −1756.887 1.14 0.01
14 −.05 .30** 0.10* −1749.33 1.14 0.04
Note: Signi cance levels: * p <.05, ** p <.001.
Table 9.2 (cont.)
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Theoretical integration and empirical interactions 191
not to value conservation versus openness. This provides indirect sup-
port for the idea that people who value conservation (versus openness)
tend to think about themselves in terms of group af liations and to
pursue their distinctiveness motive through the groups to which they
belong. Similarly, Vignoles et al . ( 2006 ) found a stronger positive cor-
relation between these identity motives among church-goers, who are
likely to value conservation highly (see Schwartz and Huismans, 1995 ),
compared to school-leavers.
Values, belonging and evaluation We expected the conservation
versus openness value dimension to moderate the relation between the
sense of belonging that an identity provides and the evaluation of that
identity. We examined this moderation effect for two aspects of evalu-
ation, the importance of the identity and happiness with it. Neither was
signi cant. However, one component of conservation values, namely
conformity values, did moderate the relation between the belonging
an identity provides and both aspects of its evaluation, importance and
happiness ( Table 9.2 , models 8 and 9, respectively). The top panel of
Figure 9.3 shows that the greater the sense of belonging that an identity
provided the more important that identity was for people who attribute
high or medium importance to conformity values. In contrast, the sense
of belonging that an identity provides did not predict the importance of
the identity among those who give low importance to conformity values.
The bottom panel of Figure 9.3 reveals a similar pattern of interaction
for happiness with the identity. In this case, however, a greater sense of
belonging derived from an identity was associated with greater happiness
with the identity for everyone, but the effect was stronger among those
who value conformity highly.
Conformity values, belonging and meaning In line with our view
of meaning as an identity outcome, we examined whether conformity
values moderated the links between the sense of belonging and the sense
of meaning an identity provides for individuals. We postulated that an
identity that provides a sense of belonging to people who value con-
formity should also provide them with a sense of meaning, because
belonging is particularly important to them. This moderation effect was
indeed signi cant and in the expected direction (model 10 in Table 9.2 ).
Speci cally, for everyone, a greater sense of belonging derived from an
identity was associated with attaching greater meaning to that identity,
but this effect was stronger among those who value conformity highly.
This is similar to the moderation of the association between belonging
and happiness noted above.
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Integrating theoretical frameworks192
Conformity values, belonging, self-efficacy and identity enact-
ment As expected, conformity values moderated the association of
self-ef cacy and of belonging with identity enactment ( Figure 9.4 , mod-
els 7 and 11, respectively). The top panel of Figure 9.4 shows that the
2.00 4.00 5.00
(below +1 SD)
(between +1 and –1 SD)
(above +1 SD)
Model 8: Belonging predicting centrality
Model 7: Self efficacy predicting enactment
(below +1 SD)
(between +1 and −1 SD)
(above +1 SD)
Figure 9.3. Moderation effect of conformity
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Theoretical integration and empirical interactions 193
Figure 9.4. Moderation effects in predicting identity enactment
Model 9: Belonging predicting happiness
(below +1 SD)
(between +1 and −1 SD)
(above +1 SD)
1.00 3.00 6.00
Model 11: Belonging predicting enactment
(below +1 SD)
(between +1 and −1 SD)
(above +1 SD)
1.00 3.00 6.00
positive relation between the sense of belonging that an identity pro-
vides and enactment of that identity is stronger the more a person values
conformity. Conformity values had a similar moderating effect on rela-
tions between self-ef cacy and identity enactment ( Figure 9.4 , middle
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Integrating theoretical frameworks194
panel). Vignoles ( 2011 ) proposed a general link between satisfaction of
all identity motives and enacting identities in public. We therefore tested
whether conformity values also moderated relations between the other
identity motives and identity enactment. We found that conformity
values had similar moderation effects for both the self-esteem and the
meaning motives and the interactions showed a similar shape (models
5 and 6 in Table 9.2 , respectively). Thus, we can now add an individ-
ual differences perspective to Vignoles’ ( 2011 ) general proposal that the
more an identity satis es identity motives, the more people tend to show
this identity in public. Our ndings suggest that, the more people value
conformity, the closer the link between the degree to which an identity
satis es various identity motives and the tendency to display that iden-
tity in public.
Con rmation of the moderation effects of conformity led us to assess
whether the other conservation values, security and tradition, also had
such moderation effects. Security values exhibited similar moderation
effects on the associations of both belonging and continuity with identity
enactment ( Table 9.2 , models 13 and 12 respectively and the bottom
panel of Figure 9.4 for continuity). Both the belonging and continu-
ity motives may be particularly important for people who value security
highly, because belonging and continuity can provide a sense of being
Model 12: Continuity predicting enactment
(below +1 SD)
(between +1 and −1 SD)
(above +1 SD)
Figure 9.4. (cont.)
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Theoretical integration and empirical interactions 195
protected and safe in a predictable world. We note, however, that secur-
ity values had the same moderation effect on the positive link between
the identity motive of meaning and identity enactment (model 14 in
Table 9.2 ). Tradition values exhibited no moderation effects. Close
examination of the patterns of moderation effects could be a topic for
In sum, we found that personal values moderated links between iden-
tity motives and outcomes, suggesting that, although there is universality
in links between identity motives and outcomes, there are also individual-
differences. Speci cally, for individuals who highly value conservation
(versus openness to change) values, the feeling that an identity provides
them with continuity is particularly important in the evaluation of an
identity and for these people distinctiveness is more closely associated
with belonging. Furthermore, for individuals who value conformity (one
component of conservation values), satisfying the motives of self-esteem,
meaning and self-ef cacy is particularly associated with their tendency
to show the identity in public. Finally, for people who value conformity,
there is a closer association between satisfying the motive of belonging
and all aspects of identity evaluation. This suggests that one size does not
t all: values determine which identity motives are more associated with
Value and identity change
Stability and change are of key importance to the understanding of iden-
tities and values. Some of the suggestions and ndings from value the-
ory and research could inform IPT and stimulate new research, as we
Forces for stability Bardi and Goodwin ( 2011 ) suggested that
basic values are embedded in core schemas. This is probably true for
identities as well. Hence, as Bardi and Goodwin ( 2011 ) suggest with
regard to values, core identities may be stable by default, due to the forces
that cause stability in core schema reviewed above. That is, for identities
to change, something in the environment must change. And indeed, IPT
links identity changes with social change (Breakwell, 2001a ).
The process of change As values are embedded in core schemas,
any change in values occurs through change to the relevant core schema
(Bardi and Goodwin, 2011 ). Similarly, IPT suggests that identity change
involves change to knowledge structures, re ecting the assimilation–
accommodation process (Breakwell, 1986 ). Values and compatible
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Integrating theoretical frameworks196
identities are probably associated with the same schema. This implies
that they may change together as part of the same process and/or that a
change in one may induce a compatible change in the other (see support-
ing evidence with regard to values and compatible beliefs in Goodwin
et al ., 2012 ). Future research can examine whether this holds with regard
to values and compatible identities.
IPT suggests that social changes may lead to changes in the centrality
of identities. The process by which this could occur can be adapted from
Bardi and Goodwin’s ( 2011 ) suggestions regarding the automatic and
effortful routes to value change . Speci cally, social change can activate
particular values automatically and/or through conscious discussion. For
example, messages in the media regarding the threat of Islamic terror-
ism may automatically activate the identities of “Muslim” and “British”
in British Muslims. This activation may lead to an automatic threat to
satisfying the motive of self-esteem in of the Muslim identity, because
of the negative discourse in the media regarding Muslims. This, in turn,
could lead to a reduction in the centrality of Muslim identity. However,
the same messages are likely to enter awareness and may cause con-
scious thought about them. A British Muslim person may disagree with
these messages and feel alienated with Britain. This feeling of alienation
is likely to reduce satisfaction of the motive of belonging that the British
identity provides and therefore lead to a reduction in the centrality of the
Finally, our empirical research reported above suggests a “values path-
way” through which social change may induce identity change. We found
that conservation values moderate the links between various identity
motives and outcomes. For example, the importance people attribute
to conservation values affects the extent to which the sense of continu-
ity that an identity provides in uences the evaluation of that identity.
If social change leads to an increase or decrease in the importance of
conservation values, it is also likely to affect the links between the iden-
tity motives and outcomes that these values moderate. To illustrate, con-
sider the sense of continuity that a religious identity can provide. If social
change induces increased importance of conservation values, the con-
tinuity motive should become more in uential and people should experi-
ence their religious identities as more important and central and they
should be happier with them.
This values pathway could have large-scale rami cations in a society
if there were a mass shift in the importance of conservation values that
affected the in uence of the continuity motive. If conservation values
and, consequently, the continuity motive were to become more import-
ant, people’s identity as adherents of a religion would become more
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Theoretical integration and empirical interactions 197
central for them. The role of religious institutions in society might
then increase and people might demand changes in government fam-
ily policies. A decrease in the importance of conservation values and,
consequently, of the continuity motive, might have opposite effects.
It might weaken religious institutions and lead to more liberal family
Conclusions and future directions
This chapter provided an integration of IPT with the Schwartz ( 1992 )
value theory, adding an individual-difference perspective to IPT and
demonstrating its importance empirically, as well as integrating ideas
and empirical ndings regarding changes of identities and values. Our
empirical data demonstrated that individual differences in personal
values moderate the links between identity motives and identity out-
comes, thereby revealing that these links are not the same for everyone.
Our hypotheses and ndings were focused on conservation values, which
express the motivation to maintain stability and thereby to protect the
individual from threat. This ts with IPT’s focus on identity threat. It
suggests that individuals may differ in the level of identity threat that
social changes can elicit owing to value-based individual differences
in the importance of satisfying certain identity motives. For instance,
those individuals who value conservation (and therefore see identities
that provide them with feelings of continuity as more important) may be
adversely affected if they cease to perceive a sense of continuity , leading
to identity threat (Breakwell, 1986 ).
Future theory and research could expand the contribution of values to
IPT by addressing values as determinants of contents of identities that
would allow the person to ful ll his or her values (see also Roccas et al .,
2010 ). This is consistent with IPT’s recognition that individuals have
agency in constructing their identities. Future research could also inves-
tigate some of the suggestions put forward regarding value change in the
area of identities.
In conclusion, this chapter makes progress in bridging the individual
and social levels of cognition. We hope that, by presenting an individ-
ual-difference dimension to IPT, we have been able to establish linkage
between some of the central tenets of IPT and values theory. This should
encourage both IPT and values researchers to consider the theoretical
and empirical bene ts of further integrating these theories in their work
and of acknowledging their respective contributions to understanding
the self, change and human motivation.
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