Aspects of Identity Questionnaire (AIQ-IV)


Identity orientations refer to the relative importance that individuals place on various identity attributes or characteristics when constructing their self-definitions (Cheek, 1989). The development of the Aspects of Identity Questionnaire (AIQ) began with the selection of items from Sampson’s (1978) list of identity characteristics that were judged to represent the domains of personal and social identity (Cheek & Briggs, 1981, 1982). Subsequently, some items were reworded, others eliminated, and new items were developed to improve the reliability and content validity of the measures (Cheek, 1982/83; Cheek & Hogan, 1981; Hogan & Cheek, 1983). Psychometric analyses indicated that certain items originally scored in the social identity category (e.g., “Being a part of the many generations of my family”) were tending to cluster on a third factor representing communal or collective identity. A third scale for this domain was developed (Cheek, Underwood, & Cutler, 1985) and has now been expanded (Cheek, Tropp, Chen, & Underwood, 1994). Neither the social nor collective scales focus on intimate relationships with close friends or romantic partners, so a fourth scale for relational identity orientation (“Being a good friend to those I really care about”) was added to the AIQ-IV (Cheek, Smith, & Tropp, 2002).


For more information on psychometrics, see key references.

Author of Tool:

Cheek, J. M. & Briggs, S. R.

Key references:

 Cheek, J. M., Tropp, L. R., Chen, L. C., & Underwood, M. K. (1994, August). Identity Orientations: Personal, social, and collective aspects of identity. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA. Adapted from: Cheek, Underwood & Cutler (1985). Cheek, J. M., Smith, S.M., & Tropp, L. R. (2002, February). Relational identity orientation: A fourth scale for the AIQ. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Savannah, GA.

Primary use / Purpose:

Measures aspects of identity associated with personal and social identity.


INSTRUCTIONS: These items describe different aspects of identity. Please read each item carefully and consider how it applies to you. Fill in the blank next to each item by choosing a number from the scale below:

  • 1 = Not important to my sense of who I am
  • 2 = Slightly important to my sense of who I am
  • 3 = Somewhat important to my sense of who I am
  • 4 = Very important to my sense of who I am
  • 5 = Extremely important to my sense of who I am
  1.    The things I own, my possessions
  2.    My personal values and moral standards
  3.    My popularity with other people
  4.    Being a part of the many generations of my family
  5.    My dreams and imagination
  6.    The ways in which other people react to what I say and do
  7.    My race or ethnic background
  8.    My personal goals and hopes for the future
  9.    My physical appearance: my height, my weight, and the shape of my body
  10.    My religion
  11.    My emotions and feelings
  12.    My reputation, what others think of me
  13.    Places where I live or where I was raised
  14.    My thoughts and ideas
  15.    My attractiveness to other people
  16.    My age, belonging to my age group or being part of my generation
  17.    My gestures and mannerisms, the impression I make on others
  18.    The ways I deal with my fears and anxieties
  19.    My sex, being a male or a female
  20.    My social behavior, such as the way I act when meeting people
  21.    My feeling of being a unique person, being distinct from others
  22.    My relationships with the people I feel close to
  23. My social class, the economic group I belong to whether lower, middle, or upper class
  24. My feeling of belonging to my community
  25. Knowing that I continue to be essentially the same inside even though life involves many external changes
  26. Being a good friend to those I really care about
  27. My self-knowledge, my ideas about what kind of person I really am
  28. My commitment to being a concerned relationship partner
  29. My feeling of pride in my country, being proud to be a citizen
  30. My physical abilities, being coordinated and good at athletic activities
  31. Sharing significant experiences with my close friends
  32. My personal self-evaluation, the private opinion I have of myself
  33. Being a sports fan, identifying with a sports team
  34. Having mutually satisfying personal relationships
  35. Connecting on an intimate level with another person
  36. My occupational choice and career plans
  37. Developing caring relationships with others
  38. My commitments on political issues or my political activities
  39. My desire to understand the true thoughts and feelings of my best friend or romantic partner
  40. My academic ability and performance, such as the grades I earn and comments I get from teachers
  41. Having close bonds with other people
  42. My language, such as my regional accent or dialect or a second language that I know
  43. My feeling of connectedness with those I am close to
  44. My role of being a student in college
  45. My sexual orientation, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual


[version 4, which adds RI to AIQ-IIIx, thus adding 10 new RI items and changing sequence = item # s of some old items] (Summer 2001 for 2002 SPSP Poster)

For details of AIQ-IIIx and its History and Bibliography, see Identity Orientations.

PI = Personal Identity Orientation RI = Relational Identity Orientation SI = Social Identity Orientation

CI = Collective Identity Orientation

(SP = Special items [not scored on scales])

Each of the scale scores is the sum of the answers (1-5) given to those items. For AIQ-IV 45 items, the scoring numbering is:

  • PI = 2 5 8 11 14 18 21 25 27 32 [sum of answers to 10 items]
  • RI = 22 26 28 31 34 35 37 39 41 43 [ “” 10 items]
  • SI = 3 6 9 12 15 17 20 [ “” 7 items]
  • CI = 4 7 10 13 24 29 38 42 [ “” 8 items]
  • [SP = 1 16 19 23 30 33 36 40 44 45 (10 items not scored on scales)]**

**Dollinger et al. (1996) created a new AIQ -IIIx scale named “Superficial Identity” by summing 5 items [AIQ-IIIx SP’s # 1, 16, & 18 plus SI’s # 9 & 15] as “a measure of an emphasis on surface qualities of self immediately visible to others” (M = 17.46, SD = 3.39). Superficial identity orientation correlated .19 with PI, .75 corrected to .61 with the partly overlapping SI, and .36 with CI. (Dollinger, S. J., Preston, L. A., O’Brien, S. P., & DiLalla, D. L. (1996). Individuality and relatedness of the self: An autophotographic study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 1268-1278.) (“Superficial” on AIQ-IV = 1 9 15 16 19)

***Additional use of an ad hoc “scale” of SP items and single items: In a set of analyses of additional data from the sample described above, Dollinger created a new AIQ-IIIx scale named “Academic Identity” by summing 3 SP items pertaining to the importance of career plans, academic performance, and the student role [AIQ-IIIx SP’s # 30, 32, & 34; M =11.9, SD = 2.0] to relate to Achievement coding of the autophotography essays (obtained r = .27). In addition, the AIQ religion item [CI # 10] correlated .16 with the Religion photo code, and the AIQ-IIIx physical abilities item [AIQ-IIIx SP # 27] correlated .23 with the Athletics code for the autobiographical photo essays. (Dollinger,

  1. J. (1996). Autophotographic identities of young adults: With special reference to alcohol, athletics, achievement, religion and work. Journal of Personality Assessment , 67, 384-398.) (“Academic/college” on AIQ-IV = 36 40 44)

**Note: AIQ-IV #23 (‘social class’) loaded on both SI and CI in college students (especially on SI at Dartmouth) but we expect it should probably load as a CI item among non-college adults.

In general, the SP items are intended to provide at least single item assessment of the subjective importance of dimensions that have been included in various theories and measurement models of multidimensional self-esteem (e.g., Briggs, S. R. & Cheek, J. M. (1986). The role of factor analysis in the development and evaluation of personality scales. Journal of Personality, 54, 106-148.