Patterns of Life Structure and Variability in Self

Laura M. Crary*, Asya Pazy, Donald M. Wolfe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates the relationship between patterns of life structure and variability in self. It presents new methods for assessing two kinds of variability in self and four dimensions of life structure (complexity, conflict, flexibility, and compartmentation). Data for these measures were gathered through the design of a research program in which subjects were invited into the data-gathering process as co-inquirers. Empirical data reveal a congruence between variability of self and the nature of a person's environment as it is reflected in dimensions of life structure. Variability of self is linked with the occupation of complex, flexible, compartmented, and highly conflictful life structures. Theoretical implications point toward the need to consider patterns of life structure and variability of self as dimensions of individual differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-804
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1988


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