Identity style and employment histories among women receiving public assistance

Cheryl Cheek, Randall M. Jones

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5 Scopus citations


This study examined the relation between identity styles and employment among 203 female public assistance recipients. Respondents provided employment and public assistance histories and were categorized into three preferred identity style orientations using the Identity Style Inventory (Berzonsky, 1992): informational (active searching and evaluation of information prior to decision making), normative (a passive approach to decision making relying upon the opinions of significant others), and diffuse/avoidant (decision making characterized by procrastination and avoidance). Information- and normative-oriented respondents reported over 1 year of public assistance (15.05 and 14.21 months, respectively), whereas the diffuse/avoidant-oriented respondents reported over 3 years (37.20 months) of assistance. Diffuse/avoidant-oriented respondents also reported changing jobs more frequently during the previous 12 months than information- and normative-oriented respondents, although no differences were found among the groups in total months employed. Results indicate that public assistance recipients differ in their identity styles; blanket interventions for employment skills will likely be less effective than those tailored to meet specific psychosocial needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-88
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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