Digging deeper: Research practices and recommendations for exploring intersectionality and social and cultural influences on personality, identity, and well-being

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© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland. This chapter integrates theoretical and empirical feminist work in order to assist personality researchers in exploring the psychosocial processes that shape personality, identity, and experience. First, I suggest that researchers theorize why patterns specific to particular social groups may occur. Second, I suggest that researchers must carefully consider who is included in the population they are studying and should attend to heterogeneity within these groups. Drawing on intersectionality as a theoretical framework, I suggest exploring individual, structural, and cultural factors that may account for variation both between individuals within a social group as well as between groups. This approach provides rich and detailed information that may be otherwise overlooked. I highlight three strategies that have the potential to assist psychologists in examining patterns of gender and identity among diverse groups and I illustrate these suggestions by drawing on examples from the literatures on aging, race/ethnicity, body image, and biopsychology. Together, these approaches can assist personality psychologists in fully articulating and investigating differences in their own right and emphasize the need to investigate how experiences of gender and other social categories shape and influence individual’s personality and well-being.

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