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Theory and Research on Human Emotions

ISBN: 978-0-76231-108-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-271-9

Publication date: 9 July 2004


This research continues to advance the role of emotion in identity theory by examining how the external social structure influences internal identity processes to produce negative emotions. According to identity control theory, negative arousal emerges when one experiences identity feedback that is non-verifying, persistent, and from a source who is familiar compared to unfamiliar to one. While other research has not definitively supported these relationships (Stets, 2003, 2005), the current research examines whether the identity theory hypotheses are conditioned upon one’s status in the social structure. Using the diffuse status characteristic of gender where the status of male is high and the status of female is low, I investigate the role of status (both as the recipient and source of non-verifying identity feedback), persistence, and familiarity in producing negative emotions. The data are based on a laboratory experiment that simulates a work situation and invokes the worker identity. Workers of high or low status are the recipients of identity non-verification that is persistent or non-persistent and that is from a familiar or unfamiliar other. Managers of high or low status and who are familiar or unfamiliar with the workers are the source of persistent or non-persistent identity non-verification. The results reveal that the status of actors both as the recipient and source of identity non-verification are significant for negative emotions, suggesting that status effects need to be incorporated into the theoretical development of emotions in identity theory.


Stets, J.E. (2004), "EMOTIONS IN IDENTITY THEORY: THE EFFECT OF STATUS", Turner, J.H. (Ed.) Theory and Research on Human Emotions (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 51-76.



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