Satisfaction with Life Through Sickness and In Health: Internal and External Resources and their Impact on Identity Development

Kristen Piering, Pace University


Identity development is one of the most important tasks of adolescence, though in recent years this task has been extended through a post-adolescence period known as emerging adulthood. This period of time is one that is rich in identity exploration and allows for more time to develop a mature identity status. When examining identity development, those factors that affect the development of an identity need to be examined and understood. One such factor that greatly affects identity development is having a serious illness, such as cancer. Those who have or have had cancer may struggle with the development of a cohesive identity. Identity, in this population, is affected by number of factors, including a change in social status, the trauma of having an illness, transitioning from "patient" to "survivor", the physical impacts of the disease, and having to recreate and re-explore one's commitments in important domains of life. Aside from the impacts on identity, satisfaction with life is also impacted in those who have had cancer; however, the literature on satisfaction with life is inconclusive. Some individuals report lowered satisfaction with life, while others report similar satisfaction with life to the general population. This begs the question of why some have decreased satisfaction with life and others do not. This study sought to examine the effects of creativity and parenting on identity development and satisfaction with life. There were significant effects of creativity and parenting on identity, though some effects differed across the healthy group and the cancer group. Similarly, identity had impacts on satisfaction with life that were moderated by the history of an illness.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Piering, Kristen, "Satisfaction with Life Through Sickness and In Health: Internal and External Resources and their Impact on Identity Development" (2017). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI10669691.



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