The Effect of Status on Identity Stability

Jenny L. Davis, Tony P. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Using 77 status-imbalanced dyads, we experimentally test the effect of status on identity stability, setting the stage for research on identity change. From an identity theory perspective, we hypothesize that those with higher status will maintain greater identity stability over the course of a task-oriented interaction than their relatively lower status partners. We further test the role of identity-discrepant information. Results indicate that higher status actors are better able to maintain stable identity meanings than those with lower status. However, this relationship dissipates when situational meanings contrast with high-status actors' self-views. More generally, this indicates that high status positively affects identity stability, yet high-status actors remain vulnerable to situational inputs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-509
Number of pages13
JournalSociological Perspectives
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.


  • expectation states
  • identity
  • identity change
  • identity verification
  • power
  • status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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