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Department of Psychological Sciences

George Boone, Ph.D.

Advisor: Dr. Leon Rappoport

Dissertation Title

Personality multiplicity: developmental antecedents and behavioral implications

Dissertation Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the presence of non-pathological personality multiplicities in mentally well-adjusted individuals.

Based on prior relevant literature a theoretical model of personality multiplicity is developed and a number of hypotheses based on this model are tested. The central instrument employed for this purpose is the Dale Lifestyle Inventory (DLI) which has been shown in prior work by the author (Boone, 1994) to reliably measure the tendency toward multiplicity. 273 undergraduate volunteers completed the DLI and four additional instruments including a childhood stress questionnaire, a test of situational scenarios for behavioral characteristics, the California Inventory (private and public self-consciousness), and the Self-Monitoring test.

Results showed that slightly more than half of all subjects tested produced scores in the multiplicity range (i.e. $>$92), strongly supporting the hypothesis that personality multiplicities frequently occur in the normal population. A high correlation was found between DLI scores and stress in early childhood for the high multiplicity group (r =.50, p $<$.01). Also, a moderately significant correlation was found between DLI scores and scenarios results for the high multiplicity respondents, suggesting they engage in more pluralistic behaviors.

The DLI scores and self-monitoring scores of high multiplicity individuals were also highly correlated (r =.48, p $<$.01). This was interpreted as indicating the use of self-monitoring as an adaptive mechanism, a hypothesis also supported by the discovery of a moderate negative correlation between DLI scores and the social anxiety subscale of the California inventory.

A test of cognitive flexibility was undertaken using 41 subjects. ANOVA analysis of results indicated high multiplicity individuals exhibited significantly higher levels of cognitive flexibility than the other groups.

It is concluded that personality multiplicities are relatively common in the normal population, and they are the result of an adaptive response to stress, mediated through the use of such mechanisms as cognitive flexibility and self-monitoring.


Ph.D., Psychology, Kansas State University, 1995