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The Identity Change Research Group

Unit(s) of assessment: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Research theme: Health and Wellbeing

School: School of Social Sciences


Image: Giants II, 2013, by Glynis M. Breakwell ©G.M. Breakwell, photograph by Peter Stone.

We live in an ever-changing social world, constantly demanding adjustments to our identities and behaviours. Advances in science, technology and medicine, politics, economics, and pandemics are examples of change that impact our lives, how we view ourselves and each other, and how we communicate. How these changes are represented in society plays a fundamental role in public understanding and individual and collective behaviour.

Identity Process Theory provides an integrative social psychological framework within which social representation, identity and behaviour can be collectively examined. As a social psychological theory, Identity Process Theory attempts to bridge the individual, interpersonal, group and societal levels of analysis. It enables the researcher to predict how individuals and groups will respond to threat brought about by changes in their personal and social circumstances.  The Identity Change Research Group is focusing on the developments in Identity Process Theory and applying the theory to emerging societal challenges.


The Identity Change Research Group at Nottingham Trent University uses Identity Process Theory to examine how social representations, identity, and coping operate in the face of change. Researchers in the Group are focusing on various types of change, ranging from individual change to large-scale societal change, and their impact on identity processes; how this change is represented at individual, group, and societal levels; how people cope with change; and the implications of research for clinical practice and behavioural intervention.

The Identity Change Research Group is developing Identity Process Theory in various empirical contexts and uses a broad range of methodological approaches in the social sciences, including experiments, cross-sectional survey research, qualitative interviews, text-based analysis and observational research. A wide range of approaches to data analysis are taken, including structural equation modelling, mediation analysis, interpretative phenomenological analysis, discourse analysis, and corpus linguistics.


The Identity Change Research Group brings together researchers from across the social sciences with a particular focus on psychology. The Group includes academic staff, research assistants, doctoral researchers and visiting researchers. Please contact Professor Rusi Jaspal ( if you are interested in collaborating with the Identity Change Research Group.

Current research areas

  • The psychological impact of coming out in the UK and India.
  • An experimental study of conspiracy theory and sexual risk-taking among gay and bisexual men.
  • Experimental studies of the impact of COVID-19 on identity processes.
  • The impact of identity and discrimination on life satisfaction among ethnic minorities in the UK
  • A mixed methods study of social isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Development of scales for measuring perceived risk of COVID-19 and preventive behaviours.
  • Identity and mental health in Lebanon among heterosexual and non-heterosexual people.

Related staff

Primary members

Secondary members