The development of identity in adolescence
In recent years, the development of identity in adolescence has become a popular issue in developmental psychology. In the present study seven hypotheses were formulated on this subject and tested. The period of adolescence observed was limited to one year during which the subjects left a boarding school for a new role in society. Eighty-one sixteen year olds were interviewed using the repertory grid method six months prior to leaving school, immediately before departure, and then a third time six months later. The interview data was analyzed in terms of five operationally defined dependent variables of identity: construing, identifications, perception of self sameness, perception of continuity, and identity diffusion. The hypotheses regarded the effect of the independent variables of transition from school; vocational commitment, temporal orientation, early environmental disruptions, and sex, on the measures of identity. The hypotheses were only partially confirmed, yet four effects in the development of identity during this specific period of adolescence were found. Reconstruing was observed after the transition from school in those with considerable identity diffusion prior to leaving school. Identifying with the peer group affected identity diffusion before leaving school. Vocational commitment affected the identity development of girls but not boys; and other sex differences were found in several measures of identity. These findings were discussed in terms of existing theories of adolescence and identity outlined in this thesis, and led to the description of a focal model of the development of identity in adolescence. The findings also revealed some of the coping processes adolescents use in making the transition from school to a new role in society. Finally, the findings also led to new ideas about adolescence and identity.