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Abstract

This chapter discusses specifics of identity formation in Italian adolescents and emerging adults. We review consistent evidence illustrating that, in Italy, a progressive deferral of transition to adulthood strongly impacts youth identity development by stimulating identity exploration and postponement of identity commitments. We also consider the influence of ecological contexts and specific Italian groups (i.e., immigrant adolescents and those who drop out of school, youth living in disadvantaged areas in the south of Italy, and emerging adults who are unemployed or hold precarious jobs) for which the identity formation process is particularly challenging. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.