The relationship between feminist identity and resiliency in women
Among women, feminist identity has been associated with their well-being in multiple ways, including both psychological and sexual well-being. Women who self-identify as feminists and/or who are classified as being in the latter stages of feminist identity development (Downing & Roush, 1985) receive benefit from this social identity. Resiliency—defined as the capacity for individuals to bounce back from adversity—shows its positive effect on different aspects of an individual's life, as well. However, scholars have not examined the relationship between these two constructs. The current investigation explored the relationship between feminist identity and resiliency in women. It was hypothesized that feminist self-identification and being in the latter stages of feminist identity development would have a positive and significant relationship with resiliency. Two hundred and eighty diverse women from the community completed the online survey including an author-generated demographic questionnaire, a measure of Feminist Self-Identification (Myaskovsky & Wittig, 1997), the Feminist Identity Composite (Fischer et al., 2000), and the Resilience Scale (Wagnild & Young, 1993). As predicted, results of Pearson-product moment correlations indicated a significant and positive relationship between feminist self-identification and resiliency. Women who self-identified as feminists reported greater resiliency than those who did not identify as feminists. Results of the structural equation modeling partially supported the hypothesis that resiliency is significantly and positively correlated with latter stages of feminist identity development. The passive acceptance stage was negatively and significantly correlated with resiliency. Only the embeddedness-emanation, synthesis, and active commitment stages were positively and significantly correlated with resiliency. Women who were in the latter three stages of feminist identity development demonstrated greater resiliency than women who were in the beginning stage (passive acceptance stage). Additionally, women who both self-identified as feminists and were in the three latter stages of feminist identity development demonstrated greater resiliency than women who self-identified as non-feminists and were in the passive acceptance stage of feminist identity development. Implications for theory, research, and practice were provided.