In today’s diverse and mobile world, it is common for people to engage in different roles, which make their self-concept more complex and layered, hence enriching their cognitive and behavioural repertoires. Given the importance of the self-concept, it is worthwhile to further understand the process and condition of the self on psychological functioning. The present research aims to investigate the effect of multiple identities on life satisfaction and identify the mechanism underlying this linkage and its boundary condition. We hypothesised a moderated mediation model with multiple identities predicting life satisfaction through identity integration, and the development of a cohesive self-concept depends largely on people’s holistic thinking, a cognitive tendency to attend to the linkages among objects and orient towards the context or field as a whole, instead of focusing on the unique properties of discrete objects. Results converged from Study 1 (N = 383) and Study 2 (N = 210) to support the mediating effect of identity integration on the association between multiple identities and life satisfaction. Moreover, we found in Study 2 that the relation between multiple identities and life satisfaction was significant when holistic thinking was high or moderate, but not when holistic thinking was low. In sum, the present research provided empirical evidence that identity integration represents the key mechanism, whereas holistic thinking represents the key condition in determining how multiple identities can be associated with life satisfaction.
Bibliographical noteThe research was supported in part by the Departmental General Research Grant (P0014017) from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Human Subjects Ethics Sub-committee of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.