Deviance Regulation: A Theory of Action and Identity Academic Article uri icon


  • The authors propose a behavioral decision theory relevant to the maintenance of desirable identities. The theory, termed deviance regulation theory (DRT), predicts that actions translate into meaningful identities to the extent that they cause the individual to deviate from reference group norms. This straightforward proposition is used to predict the patterning of behavior across a wide array of social contexts. The authors present evidence that predictions generalize across Eastern and Western cultures and to both personal and collective identities. Finally, they show how DRT alters current theoretical assumptions about social motives and social and cultural influence, and they illustrate how it can help explain the structure of both informal and formal social forces.

published proceedings

  • Review of General Psychology

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Blanton, H., & Christie, C.

citation count

  • 150

complete list of authors

  • Blanton, Hart||Christie, Charlene

publication date

  • June 2003