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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Fitting in and feeling real : state authenticity as fit between identity and environment Aday, Audrey


State authenticity (SA) is defined as “the sense or feeling that one is currently in alignment with one’s true or genuine self” (Sedikides et al., 2017). Recent models have conceptualized SA as distinct from trait authenticity and as a key predictor of situation selection with implications for how people self-sort by social identities (see Schmader & Sedikides, 2017). Critically, experiences of SA are predicted to arise from three distinct types of fit to the environment: self-concept, goal, and social fit. The present work aims to empirically test key assumptions of the SAFE (State Authenticity as Fit to the Environment) model and apply this model to academic (Chapter 2) and cultural (Chapter 3) contexts. In Chapter 2 (Studies 1-2), I review how identification with engineering versus psychology predicts greater approach intentions in the environment associated with engineering versus psychology, as fully mediated by SA. In Study 2, I review how SA can be understood as a mechanism of gendered occupational segregation. In Chapter 3 (Studies 3-4), I review how identification with mainstream culture predicts greater SA, as mediated by the three types of fit to the environment. In Study 4, I review how these outcomes also translate into student motivation on campus. Together, these findings add to current understandings of SA and highlight identification with one’s environment as a key antecedent to fit and authenticity.

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