Does Controllability of Identity Matter in Relationship Formation?
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Identities can be classified in a variety of ways. They can be grouped on the basis of visibility, choice in adopting an identity, or how an identity personally impacts one’s life. Identity is a major consideration in relationship formations; people subconsciously consider identity when they initiate relationships with others. However, researchers do not know how one’s choice in adopting an identity impacts their choice of who they choose to engage in relationships with. The current study consisted of two components; the first required participants to rate 31 identities’ level of perceived controllability on a 0-100 sliding scale. Secondly, participants rated each of the 31 identities based on how willing or unwilling, or how happy or unhappy, they might be to enter into various relationship types with someone of a different identity than one’s own. The relationships presented in the second section included 6 different types: neighbors, close friends, citizen of your country, relative by marriage, and someone you would date. Results demonstrated that 3 (friend, neighbor, and dating) of the 6 relationship types supported that the perceived choice in one’s identity was indeed important in willingness to form these relationships. These results support that the closer the relationship type, the more likely one will care if that person has an identity that is perceived as controllable or not.