ISA Papers and Journals




Development of an instrument for assessing personal nursing values against a set of preferred nursing values

Authors: Colin McNeill, Allen Erskine, Roger Ellis, Marian Traynor, Despina Galanouli



This paper is concerned with progress in the development of Nurse Match (NM) a values based self-report instrument for assessing the nature, relative importance and emotional significance of personal values about nursing held by nurses, nursing students or those aspiring to be nurses. This in the context of the concern that standards in nursing may be falling and the need for values based methods to identify suitable candidates. The NM work was first reported by Ellis et al (2015) and that article is summarised below. NM values were aligned with preferred attributes based on NIPEC* research, NIPEC (2014), and then combined by NIPEC theme into six nursing values. The primary aim of the work was to continue development of NM by piloting the instrument with a cohort of nurses, scoring the resulting value profiles and obtaining feedback on user experience. A secondary aim was to explore the relationship between cohort scores on the pilot instrument and on a number of other measures of nursing competence; personal statements, selection interviews and a Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) selection process. Presentation and use of the instrument worked well and the scoring process for comparing respondent profiles on nursing values discriminated effectively between nurses presenting as a normal distribution. The secondary aim is a work in progress with initial indications being low or no correlations between the various measures of nursing competence. The instrument was seen to have face and content validity identifying the important nursing values, was interesting, easy to understand and complete. As a self-report measure it was considered to be complementary to other modes of assessment such as MMI

* Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery (NIPEC)

Constructing the Nurse Match Instrument to Measure Professional Identity and Values in Nursing

Authors: Roger Ellis*, Lauren Griffiths* and Elaine Hogard **
*Buchinghamshire New University ** North Ontario School of Medicine Canada

Journal: Journal of Nursing Care (2015)

This article describes the development of an instrument to measure and explore the identities of nurses, nursing students and applicants to Nursing programmes. In particular the instrument focuses on the values held by respondents regarding Nursing. The current concern that standards in nursing may be falling and the need for methods to identify suitable candidates are described briefly. The instrument has been developed using the well-established ISA/Ipseus theory and psychometric technology to offer an in depth measure of professional identity and values in Nursing. The instrument is called Nurse Match since it allows for comparison and match between the profiles of applicants to Nursing programmes and experienced and well regarded nurses.The article locates the instrument in theoretical and empirical approaches to identity and concentrates on three key theorists, Erikson; Kelly and Festinger. The use of Weinreich’s Identity Structure Analysis and its associated measuring methodology Ipseus are justified as the approach adopted for the development of Nurse Match. The key characteristics of ISA are described together with those of Ipseus, the flexible open-ended measuring technology for the development, administration, response recording, analysis and reporting functions of a dedicated instrument.
Ipseus instruments are made up of constructs which are bi polar dimensions of thought and entities which are key elements in the social domain and include aspects of self as well as key others. Completion of the instrument requires all the constructs to be applied to the entities. Responses are recorded and analysed by the Ipseus software which produces a report including indications of the way the values inherent in the constructs are construed and used by the respondent. The instrument thus gives an in-depth analysis of, in this case, the respondents position regarding key nursing values.

The article describes the steps followed to determine the constructs in the Nurse Match instrument and these included a literature review; ethnographic data gathering; and the use of expert judgements. Initial results from the use of the first version of the instrument demonstrate its power to identify the value orientations of individuals and groups. In particular, the instrument reveals which constructs/values are of most importance to a respondent and their preferred pole of each construct.

The article concludes with indications of the next steps that will be followed in the development, standardisation, and refinement of the instrument including investigations of concurrent and predictive validity


‘Enculturation’, not ‘acculturation’: Conceptualising and assessing identity processes in migrant communities

Author: Peter Weinreich

Journal: International Journal of Intercultural Relations 33 (2009) 124–139: Journal homepage: i j i n t r e l

Following a critique of Berry’s model of ‘acculturation strategies’, the paper considers the relationship between heritage culture and ethnic identity. Analysis of processes of development, maintenance and redefinition of identity in contexts of alternative cultural norms contends with the assumption of conscious choice or strategy towards mainstream and heritage cultures. From the perspective of identity issues, enculturation of cultural elements rather than acculturation is often the more significant process. Going beyond critique to consider issues of the persistence of ethnic identity and processes of cultural reformulation, brings attention to the origins of primordialist sentiment within ethnic identity and the possibilities for generating situationalists perspectives. Reference to empirical investigations using Identity Structure Analysis (introduced as a conceptual framework for explicating complex identity processes) provides evidence for different identity processes and structures according to socio-historical context and the greater malleability of situationalists compared with primordialists in their empathetic identifications with alternative cultural groups.

An Exploration of Counselling Identity in Counsellors who deal with Trauma

Author(s): Selwyn Black, B.Ed., M.Sc. & Peter Weinreich, Ph.D.

TRAUMATOLOGY Volume 6, Issue 1, Article 3, (2000)


This research explored some of the ways in which counsellors construct their identity when, in the aftermath of a traumatic event, they are exposed to the trauma of their clients. The research investigated the impact of counselling traumatised victims and the possible resulting experience of 'vicarious traumatisation' on the sense of identity on those counsellors using Identity Structure Analysis. Semi-structured informal interviews together with IDEX (Identity Exploration for Windows, V3.0) were used to analyse the issues of the impact of vicarious traumatisation on respondents' interpersonal relationships, the reverberation between previous traumatic experiences on current therapeutic practice, and how the respondents' professional orientation with regard to belief and value systems was influenced upon exposure to the trauma of their clients. The results show that vicarious traumatisation has a marked impact on both empathetic and conflicted identifications, that previous traumatic experiences have both positive and negative influences on current therapeutic practice, and that counsellors are likely to experience shifts in their belief and value systems as a consequence of trauma's after-shocks. The results have implications for the caring professions, counsellors who are involved in trauma work, and managers who have responsibility for the supervision and care of trauma counsellors.

'Counsellors' Experiences of Working with the Survivors of the Omagh Bomb.

Author(s): Selwyn Black, Peter Weinreich, Ph.D. & Pauline Irvine

Counselling 11(9), November (2000), pp.559-561


An increasing body of research suggests that counsellors who work with traumatised clients are vulnerable to the effects of vicarious traumatisation. Reports on a research project with a team of counsellors working with survivors of the Omagh bomb. 

Etics, Emics, Estonians and Russians in Contemporary Estonia: Is the Past still Dominating the Present?

Author(s): Aksel Kirch, Hanna-Hulda Reinkort and Tarmo Tuisk

Journal: IACCP Bremen Congress Symposium

Given Estonia's EU membership in 2004 and their joining of the European single labour market and being within Schengen treaty space, the assumption of the research was that historical context would hold reduced salience for the two main ethnic groups of Estonia, giving way to perceptions, expressions and nuances of some more modern, common European identity. Such assumptions are foregrounded by a number of social, economic and demographic shifts since joining the EU, not least, the dramatic halving of Estonian youth unemployment to just 10 percent;.

In researching the inter-relationships between etics, emics, Estonians and Estonian Russians in Contemporary Estonia - with particular interest in the contemporary orientation towards, and patterns of identification with, Estonia's past - domains of interest included 'Estonians', 'Russians in Estonia', 'Russians in Russia' and 'Estonian Government'; while themes embraced constructions of the past, including the Soviet Union's role in WW II. Findings suggest that recent events on the streets of Tallinn (April 2007) appear to be related to the role of the Soviet Union in WW II, where its construction as 'occupier' of Eastern Europe (as opposed to 'liberator') forms a 'core evaluative dimension of identity' for the Estonians, alongside 'the Bronze Soldier' as having no symbolic salience or relation to the Estonian identity. Findings, such as Estonian Russians expressing much stronger idealistic identification with 'Estonians' than with their own "titular" group, will be used to further demonstrate ISA etic concepts that incorporate emic values and beliefs in contemporary Estonia. 

Using identity structure analysis (ISA) to investigate female entrepreneurship

Author(s): Anita MacNabb, Jackie McCoy, Peter Weinreich & Mehroo Northover

Journal: Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Volume 5, Issue 4 October (1993), pages 301-313

The process of founding a business is for most people a period of transition entailing taking on a new role. Such a transition will often result in a change of values and beliefs. For some women, values ascribed to the entrepreneur will conflict with conventional feminine values. Previous researchers have classified women in accordance with their degree of attachment to entrepreneurial values and conventionally defined masculine-feminine values (Goffee and Scase 1985, Cromie and Hayes 1987), but to date there has been little attempt to examine the process of change in women's values and beliefs as a result of business start-up. This paper reports on the first attempt to use Identity Structure Analysis (Weinreich 1980/1986/1988) to investigate entrepreneurship: in this case, specifically female entrepreneurship. 

A Future for English/Irish Bilingualism in Northern Ireland?

Author(s): Mehroo Northover & Stephen Donnelly

Journal: Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Vol. 17, No 1, (1996)

While English continues to be the dominant language of government, business and education in the South of Ireland, and is the only official language of Northern Ireland, there is a growing interest in the learning of Irish in the North - primarily among Catholics, but also among some Protestants who have an ideological commitment to Irish language and culture. Meeting these aspirations, the attitude of the government has become more sympathetic to the use of the Irish language, most notably through funding some Irish-language primary schools, and 'legalizing' the display of bilingual street-name signs. The BBC and UTV, too, have an active programming policy for Irish language broadcasts. We argue that, despite attainment of these rights by the Irish-language lobby, there is no pressure or ground-swell of demand to make Irish an official language in Northern Ireland because the sociolinguistic preconditions for bilingualism do not exist. Moreover, recent research among Irish language learners describing themselves as 'Irish', demonstrates that those who do not speak or learn Irish have no less a sense of having an Irish identity than do fluent speakers or those learning Irish. Conditions for a limited increase in the popularity of Irish are then discussed.

Politicians, Ideological Messages, and Voters

Author(s): Mehroo Northover, Sandra Harris, Mary Duffy

Political Psychology, Vol. 15, No. 4 (Dec., 1994), pp. 713-730

While politicians play an important role in setting wide-ranging ideological parameters in society, these always have to contend with the influence of personal experience on voters and the religious or ethnic groups to which they belong. Using an Identity Structure Analysis (Weinreich 1980, 1983, 1989) approach, this research investigates the processes by which individuals evaluate political ideologies, rated against the views of respected family members and friends. The results are based on two groups of students from differing regions and cultural contexts (England and Northern Ireland) and demonstrate the strength and influence of personal biography over the discourse of politicians. Both the similarities and the significant differences in the various identifications of the two groups are examined as these reflect the processes through which voters come to offer oppositional arguments to publicly stated political ideologies. Methodological implications are also considered.

Ethnic Identity in Context: A Comparative Study of Catholicism and Nationalism in Northern and Southern Ireland

Author(s): Karyn Stapleton & Mehroo Northover

Journal: Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Vol. 20, No. 3, (1999)

The Irish sense of identity has traditionally been linked to religious and nationalist issues. However, ethnicity will acquire different forms and modes of expression, depending on the sociocultural context within which it is situated. Thus the differences between the Northern and Southern Irish contexts are likely to impinge on the prevailing sense of ethnic identity (e.g. Lee, 1989; Cochrane, 1994). Using an Identity Structure Analysis approach (Weinreich, 1980/1986), the present study sets out to examine the effects of these differing contexts on the identities of forty young 'Irish Catholics'. A comparison of two undergraduate social science classes (one from Northern Ireland and one from Southern Ireland) explores the informal ideology of each group, as it has developed within the prevailing sociocultural context. The study demonstrates the role of social, historical, political and biographical factors in the construction of individual and group identity. In this way, it is possible to identify salient and consistent variations between the two groups, arising from the sociocultural context within which each is situated. Central to the researchare participants' emic perceptions of what it means to be Irish in contemporary Northern and Southern Ireland.

Who am I? Identity as a theoretical and empirical object of research

Author(s): Maaret Wager

Journal: Psykologia 31/2 (91-97). Rauma ISSN 0355-1067 (1996)

The article participates in the psychological and social psychological debate on how to approach the concept of identity and identification processes both theoretically and empirically. The main features of Identity Structure Analysis (ISA) developed by Weinreich (1980, 1983, 1986, 1989a) are introduced, and it is argued that the ISA concepts add to the repertoire of analytic tools for investigating the content, structure and processes of identity. IDEX(ipseus) is the computer software that operationlizes ISA.

Ethnic Identities and Indigenous Psychologies in Pluralist Societies

Author(s): Peter Weinreich

Journal: Psychology & Developing Societies, Vol. 3, No. 1, 73-92 (1991)

Current theorising about the sociopsychological processes of ethnic identity development and redefinition in pluralist societies is augmented by a framework of theoretical concepts, Identity Strudure Analysis, which places indigenous psychologies at its focus and indicates that conflicts within people's ethnic identities and between ethnic groups are generally to be expected. False expectations of engineering universal "harmony" represent an inadequate understanding of the sociopsychological development of ethnic identity in pluralist societies. Instead, potentials for resolutions of ethnic conflicts to tolerable levels need to be enhanced, while processes toward pathological ethnic conflict require to be contained. Consideration is given to fundamental conceptual issues in explicating ethnic identity processes in the socio-historical contexts of differing pluralist societies. Attention is directed to the necessity for the efficient operationalisation of identity con cepts, using, for example, the accessible Identity Exploration computer software, for rapid empirical investigations of the complexities of ethnic conflicts.

Empirical assessment of identity in anorexia and bulimia nervosa

Author(s): Peter Weinreich, James Doherty and Paul Harris

Journal: Journal of Psychiatric Research, Volume 19, Issues 2-3, (1985), Pages 297-302

Researchers have neglected the study of the self concept of individuals who develop anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Towards rectifying this situation, Identity Structure Analysis (ISA) is introduced as an appropriate framework allowing the specification and empirical testing of postulates regarding disturbed identity development in anorexic disorders. The data presented distinguish a common constellation of identity characteristics in those suffering from anorexia and bulimia nervosa that differentiate them from normal and psychiatric control groups. Their identity pattern tends to be anti-developmental and in a state of 'identity crisis', in which identification conflicts with the maternal metaperspective of self (me as my mother sees me) are especially significant. Further analysis suggest that anorexics are in a phase of 'plummeting' identity crisis, whilst the patients in the sample with bulimia nervosa are in a 'sustained' phase. Future directions for research are noted.

Ethnic Stereotyping and Identification in a Multicultural Context: "Acculturation", Self-esteem and Identity Diffusion in Hong Kong Chinese University Students

Author(s): Peter Weinreich, Chung Leung Luk & Michael Harris Bond

Journal: Psychology & Developing Societies, Vol. 8, No. 1, 107-169 (1996)


Ethnic identity and "acculturation" in a multicultural context were investigated in terms of the relationship between people's intergenerational identification and their varying degrees of identification with stereotyped alternative ethnic groupings, and the consequences for their self-esteem and identity diffusion. The conceptual frame work of Identity Structure Analysis (Weinreich, 1989a) is outlined and used to formulate hypotheses concerning the relationship of patterns of identification with self-esteem and identity diffusion. A group of 156 Hong Kong Chinese university students responded to an identity instrument using constructs suitable for the Chinese perception of personality characteristics. Results demonstrated that a greater degree of (a) identification with the mainstream Hong Kong Chinese was correlated with continuity of parental and peer identification, where greater emphasis was on peers, and with self-esteem; (b) identification with the modern Oriental peoples was also correlated with continuity of intergenerational identification, but with a greater emphasis on parents, and with identity diffusion; (c) identification with the traditional Chinese was correlated solely with identification with the parental generation and with identity diffusion; (d) identification with the Western world was correlated solely with the peer generation and with self-esteem; and (e) identification with the developing peoples was correlated with identity diffusion and inversely correlated with self-esteem. Implications for theory and policy are discussed.

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