People cope with threats to their identities in many different ways. Until the original publication of this title in 1986, there had been no theoretical framework within which to analyse their strategies for doing this, or to examine the nature and impact of the threatening experiences themselves. In this elegant and original book, Glynis Breakwell proposes an integrative model which explores the structure of identity and the principles directing its development.
Focusing on examples of threat such as unemployment, sexually atypical employment and ethnic marginality, Breakwell examines the relation of the individual to social change. Through her sensitive use of case studies, she enables the victims of threat to speak for themselves about their experiences and feelings. Their reactions illustrate her proposed framework of three levels of coping strategies - intra-psychic, interpersonal and intergroup - and her assessment of the factors which limit the success of such strategies. The case studies also point to new evidence on the effects of unemployment and the impact of youth training schemes at the time.
This title would have been essential reading for a range of undergraduate courses in social and abnormal psychology and individual differences, as well as for postgraduate training in clinical and medical psychology at the time. Social workers, counsellors and all those concerned with the care of the sufferers of threatened identities will still find it both informative and influential.
Acknowledgements. 1. Varieties of Identity-Threatening Experiences 2. Identity and Social Structure 3. The Structure of Threats 4. Self-Protection at the Intra-Psychic Level 5. Interpersonal Coping Strategies 6. Intergroup Coping Strategies 7. Limits to Coping 8. Central Tenets of the Model of Identity, Threat and Coping. References. Name Index. Subject Index.
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