Relationships Between Identity and Well-Being in Italian, Polish, and Romanian Emerging Adults

Dominika Karas


By: Dominika Karaś, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Poland
Jan Cieciuch, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Poland
Oana Negru, Babeş-Bolyai University, Romania
Elisabetta Crocetti, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Identity is one of a core developmental tasks in human life (Erikson, 1950). Thus, among many possible predictors of well-being, identity processes may hold the important position, especially in the time of emerging adulthood – the period characterized by instability, and feeling in-between adolescence and adulthood, but also a time of taking new roles, highly important for identity development.

We adopted three-dimensional identity model proposed by Crocetti and colleagues (2008), where the three pivotal processes of identity are: commitment (the choice made in identity relevant domain, and the extent of identification with this choice), in-depth exploration (looking for new information about present commitments), and reconsideration of commitment (comparison between existing and other possible commitments, and efforts to change commitments, when they are not satisfactory for individual).

In presented study, we aimed on examining the relationships between three identity processes and positive well-being in emerging adulthood. We compared the data from three different countries: Italy, Poland, and Romania, and we paid attention to youth from two different groups: university students and workers. Moreover, we examined two identity domains that are particularly important for young people: education and work.

Our findings showed that identity processes are significantly related to positive well-being (including three aspects: emotional, psychological, and social). Committing into important life domains (such as education and work) and looking for new information about existing commitments was positively related to well-being, while reconsideration of commitment appeared to be troublesome aspect of identity formation, decreasing well-being.

Moreover, the pattern of presented associations was consistent across national and occupational groups, however in student group the identity processes explained higher part of well-being variance. The results highlights the role of identity formation for experiencing well-being.

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