“Being Stuck between Two Worlds”–Identity Configurations of Occupational and Family Identities

Fanny Gyberg, Ann Frisén, Moin Syed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Most research on identity has focused on either identity processes or identity content, neglecting how individuals structure their identities. We investigated how individuals negotiated their sometimes conflicting multiple identifications of work and family into different types of workable identity configurations. We also examined differences across configurations in the gender distribution, degree of conflict, and life satisfaction. Through a mixed methods approach, a community sample of 124 young Swedish adults (50% women, Mage 33.29 years) were interviewed about work and family priorities and completed a rating scale measure of life satisfaction. The qualitative analyses showed six different types of identity configurations, the most common being Family first, followed by Everything is important, Struggling to prioritize, Now family comes first, Inability to prioritize, and Work first. The quantitative analyses showed few gender differences across configurations, but there were differences in conflict and life satisfaction between configurations. The findings from this study reflect the complex and dynamic ways identity is structured within a cultural context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-346
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Preparation of this manuscript was supported by Grant from Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE). The authors of this paper want to further acknowledge the valuable contribution, time and effort put in by all the participants as well as the project group involved in the data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Identity configuration
  • conflict
  • family
  • satisfaction with life
  • work


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