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Identity Processes and Social Stress
Peter J. Burke
American Sociological Review
Vol. 56, No. 6 (Dec., 1991), pp. 836-849
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096259
Page Count: 14
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Social stress can be understood by incorporating interruption theory as developed in research on stress into a model of identity processes drawn from identity theory. From this perspective, social stress results from interruption of the feedback loop that maintains identity processes. I discuss four mechanisms of interruption of identity processes: broken identity loops, interference between identity systems, over-controlled identity systems, and the invocation of episodic identities. Each of these four mechanisms is associated with conditions known to produce feelings of distress. Finally, I discuss how personal evaluation relates to identity processes and distress, and how distress, can lead to changes in identity.
American Sociological Review © 1991 American Sociological Association