Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Edward Aronow

Committee Member

John Adams

Committee Member

Luis Montesinos


According to Cicchetti and Toth (1998), the integration of inadequate biological, ecological, socioemotional, cognitive, and self-representational forces may foster psychopathological organization. These forces comprise developmental contextualism. Contextualism can be visualized as a bidirectional relationship between the individual and the context (Lemer, 2002). In other words, internal and external forces interact with one another as they are affecting the organism. Ecology, socioemotionality, cognition, and biology interact to form the self-representational sense of self or “other” source. This other source is the subjective experience of the organism and emerges as a force in and of itself and influences superceding interactions between ecology, cognition, socioemotionality, and biology. The self-representational sense of self is an internal experience of the self and is where vulnerability to the outside world develops. Vulnerability is experienced subjectively as having a weak self-structure and being easily triggered by unclear or negative contextual variables. Therefore, it seems reasonable to suggest that security in sense of self, or degree of self-integration may dictate vulnerability to common psychopathology such as depression and anxiety (Dombeck, 1995). In leau of the potential relationship between these variables, this particular study assessed how identity vulnerability, depression, and anxiety related to one another through self-reported measures. There was an indication of comorbidity suggesting that identity vulnerability is an underlying factor in the development and experience of depression and anxiety.

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