The Determinants of Identity Formation during the Transition from Adolescence into Adulthood

Anna Izabela Brzezińska, Tomasz Czub, Szymon Hejmanowski, Małgorzata Rękosiewicz, Radosław Kaczan, Konrad Piotrowski


The process of identity formation during the transition from adolescence into adulthood and its determinants are currently a central issue in the social sciences. On the one hand, the huge variety of  possibilities presents the opportunity to expand the fields of exploration and to tailor commitments to individual aspirations and preferences. On the other hand, increasing instability and Bauman’s liquidity of the social environment of development may create threats that impede the making of decisions, engaging in their realization, and identifying with the choices made. James Marcia’s two-stage model of identity formation no longer adequately describes and accounts for paths of identity development. The dynamic dual-cycle model of identity formation developed by Koen Luyckx and collaborators is much more accurate. Although identity continues to develop throughout course of life, childhood, and adolescence in particular, seems to be pivotal from the point of view of which developmental trajectory the individual is on at the moment of his/her entry into adulthood. From this point of view, the factors which we regard as crucial for identity formation are shame proneness and shame regulation strategies on the one hand, and the system of personal beliefs about one’s life and related key social experiences which define the quality of social participation of adolescents on the other hand.

Słowa kluczowe

adolescence; emerging adulthood; early adulthood; sense of adulthood; adult social roles; dimensions of identity; identity status; developmental trajectories; shame proneness; shame regulation; sense of punctuality of life events; social participation typ

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