Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Moore School of Business

First Advisor

Sherry M. B. Thatcher


This dissertation provides a multiple identity perspective to how people experience challenges towards their identities ("identity threats"). While research on identity threat has normally focused on identity threat in relation to a single identity, my dissertation challenges this assumption by examining how connections between multiple identities (e.g., professional, spouse) affect how people experience identity threats. I provide a review of identity threat research, after which I establish an intrapersonal identity network view of identity threat that considers how the centralization of a threatened identity, as well as the density of one’s identity network in terms of enhancing and conflicting relationships, affects the relationship between identity threat and well-being. I develop and validate an empirical measure of identity threat using a sample of entrepreneurs, followed by an empirical test with a sample of unemployed, married workers. I then test a portion of my model with a sample of early career STEM academics by considering how competency beliefs associated with a current identity (self-efficacy, imposterism), shape the rate that workers obtain a clear vision of their future professional identity. Findings from this dissertation most squarely contribute to the identity threat literature, accounting for the complex and multifaceted ways that workers’ identities are connected within the identity threat process.