What Are the Different Types of Identity?

Rob Lewine/Image Source/Getty Images

People construct their identity through internal processes or by belonging to a group, and combined with a person’s preference to a type of control, they can be defined by four distinct identity types: leader, follower, independent and drifter. In the general field of social sciences, identity can be more loosely defined as how someone perceives themselves and how they are perceived within a group or affiliation.

Leaders are more likely to take control. A follower is similarly external in how he or she formulates his or her identity, but a follower will cede control instead of seizing it. On the opposite side of the spectrum, someone who is independent is more likely to form his or her identity through internal processes. They are also more likely to take control. Someone who is a drifter, though, may be similarly internal, but tends to cede control, instead.

These identity types do not define people completely. Sense of identity may change depending on the context. There are also likely to be more balanced personality types that exhibit traits from the four kinds of identities. Furthermore, identity can be differently defined, depending on the field of thought. For instance, people have their own national identities, where people from a certain nation or region may hold a different national identity to those who are foreign to them. Identity can also vary through culture, which could be influenced by a number of things, like religion, social class, generation and political affiliation.