Four statuses of adulthood: adult roles, psychosocial maturity and identity formation in emerging adulthood
More details
Hide details
Online publication date: 2014-02-04
Health Psychology Report 2013;1(1):52–62
The main aim of the study was to identify differences pertaining to sense of adulthood, exploration, and commitment dimensions between groups of subjects differing in respect of the number of fulfilled adulthood roles and the level of psychosocial maturity.

Participants and procedure
Participants were 358 individuals aged 18 to 30. Four groups of individuals with different adulthood statuses were designated: (1) immature non-adults (low psychosocial maturity, a small number of adult roles), (2) immature adults (low psychosocial maturity, a large number of adult roles), (3) mature non-adults (high psychosocial maturity, a small number of adult roles), (4) mature adults (high psychosocial maturity, a large number of adult roles).

In the two groups characterized by a high level of psychosocial maturity, sense of adulthood proved to be higher than in the other two groups. Immature adults manifested more visible signs of identity crisis than mature adults, and the pattern of the results in the former group was similar to that observed in the group of immature non-adults and mature non-adults.

The studies offer an insight into the relationship between identity of individuals entering adulthood, and social and personal determinants of its formation. The simultaneous analysis of selected psychological and contextual conditionings of identity formation enabled us to obtain valuable results that allow us to formulate the conclusion that both of the spheres mentioned above are important for identity development, and that the most favorable option for identity formation in different areas of young adults’ functioning is the joint development of both psychosocial maturity and adult roles.
Arnett, J.J. (2000). Emerging adulthood. A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469-480.
Arnett, J.J. & Galambos, N.L. (2003). Culture and conceptions of adulthood. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 100, 91-98.
Benson, J.E. & Furstenberg, F.F. (2007). Entry into adulthood: are adult role transitions meaningful markers of adult identity? Advances in Life Course Research, 11, 199-224.
Brzezińska, A.I. & Piotrowski, K. (2009). Diagnoza statusów tożsamości w okresie adolescencji, wyłaniającej się dorosłości i wczesnej dorosłości za pomocą Skali Wymiarów Rozwoju Tożsamości (DIDS). Studia Psychologiczne, 3, 93-109.
Brzezińska, A.I. & Piotrowski, K. (2010a). Formowanie się tożsamości a poczucie dorosłości i gotowość do tworzenia bliskich związków. Czasopismo Psychologiczne, 16, 265-274.
Brzezińska, A.I. & Piotrowski, K. (2010b). Polska adaptacja Skali Wymiarów Rozwoju Tożsamości (DIDS). Polskie Forum Psychologiczne, 15, 66-84.
Brzezińska, A.I., Piotrowski, K., Garbarek-Sawicka, E., Karowska, K. & Muszyńska, K. (2010). Wymiary tożsamości a ich podmiotowe i kontekstowe korelaty. Studia Psychologiczne, 49, 81-93.
Caroll, J.S., Badger, S., Willoughby, B.J., Nelson, L.J., Madsen, S.D. & Barry, C.M. (2009). Ready or not? Criteria for marriage readiness among emerging adults. Journal of Adolescent Research, 24, 349-375.
Côté, J.E. (1997). An empirical test of the identity capital model. Journal of Adolescence, 20, 577-597.
Erikson, E.H. (1968). Identity, youth and crisis. New York: Norton.
Galambos, N.L., Barker, E.V. & Tilton-Weaver, L.C. (2003). Canadian adolescents’ implicit theories of immaturity: what does “childish” mean? New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 100, 77-89.
Galambos, N.L., Magill-Evans, J. & Darrah, J. (2008). Psychosocial maturity in the transition to adulthood for people with and without motor disabilities. Rehabilitation Psychology, 53, 498-504.
Galambos, N.L. & Tilton-Weaver, L.C. (2000). Adolescents’ psychosocial maturity, problem behavior, and subjective age: in search of the adultoid. Applied Developmental Science, 4, 178-192.
Greenberger, E. & Steinberg, L. (1986). When teenagers work: the psychological and social costs of adolescent employment. New York: Basic Books.
Hogan, D.P. & Astone, N.M. (1986). The transition to adulthood. Annual Review of Sociology, 12, 109-130.
Johnson, M.K., Berg, J.A. & Sirotzki, T. (2007). Differentiation in self-perceived adulthood: extending the confluence model of subjective age identity. Social Psychology Quarterly, 70, 243-261.
Jordyn, M. & Byrd, M. (2003). The relationship between the living arrangements of university students and their identity development. Adolescence, 38, 267-278.
Luyckx, K., Schwartz, S.J., Berzonsky, M.D., Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Smits, I. & Goossens, L. (2008b). Capturing ruminative exploration: extending the four-dimensional model of identity formation in late adolescence. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 58-82.
Luyckx, K., Schwartz, S.J., Goossens, L. & Pollock, S. (2008a). Employment, sense of coherence and identity formation: contextual and psychological processes on the pathway to sense of adulthood. Journal of Adolescent Research, 23, 566-591.
Marcia, J.E. (1966). Development and validation of ego – identity status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 551-558.
Marcia, J.E. (1980). Identity in adolescence. In: J. Adelson (ed.). Handbook of adolescent psychology (pp. 159-187). New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Montgomery, M.J. (2005). Psychosocial intimacy and identity: from early adolescence to emerging adulthood. Journal of Adolescent Research, 20, 346-374.
Newcomb, M.D. (1986). Pseudomaturity among adolescents: construct validation, sex differences, and associations in adulthood. Journal of Drug Issues, 26, 477-504.
Piotrowski, K. (2013). Tożsamość osobista w okresie wkraczania w dorosłość. Sytuacja młodych osób z ruchowym ograniczeniem sprawności i ich sprawnych rówieśników [Personal identity during the transition to adulthood. Situation of disabled and nondisabled youth]. Wielichowo: TIPI.
Piotrowski, K., Brzezińska, A. & Luyckx, K. (2014 – in prep.). Adult roles and psychosocial maturity as predictors of identity formation in emerging adulthood: An expansion of the confluence model.
Reitzle, M. (2006). The connections between adulthood transitions and the self-perception of being adult in the changing contexts of East and West Germany. European Psychologist, 11, 25-38.
Shanahan, M.J. (2000). Pathways to adulthood in changing societies: variability and mechanisms in life course perspective. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 667-692.
Shanahan, M.J., Porfeli, E., Mortimer, J.T. & Erikson, L.D. (2005). Subjective age identity and the transition to adulthood: when does one become an adult? In: R.A. Settersen, F.F. Furstenberg, R.G. Rumbaut (eds.). On the frontier of adulthood: theory, research, and public policy (pp. 225-255). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Yoder, A.E. (2000). Barriers to ego identity status formation: a contextual qualification of Marcia’s identity status paradigm. Journal of Adolescence, 23, 95-106.