Identity Consolidation in Early Adulthood: Relations with Ego-Resiliency, the Context of Marriage, and Personality Change

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Abstract

Identity consolidation during early adulthood was conceptualized as a process of investing oneself in new adult roles, responsibilities, and contexts and evaluating one’s ongoing experience in order to construct a coherent, grounded, and positive identity. The current study longitudinally examined (age 21 to age 27) the roles of ego-resiliency, an important personality resource, and marriage, an important identity context, in the process of identity consolidation as it unfolded in a cohort of women who experienced early adulthood during the early 1960s. Prototypes of identity in marriage were developed to reflect the different ways these women invested and evaluated their identities in the context of marriage. Results showed that ego-resiliency at age 21 and the experience of identity in marriage at age 27 were both related to identity consolidation at age 27, and findings also suggested that the relation of age 21 ego-resiliency to age 27 identity consolidation was mediated by identity in marriage. Finally, successful identity consolidation was associated with increasing ego-resiliency from age 21 to age 27. Discussion focuses on the interaction between personality and social context in the process of identity consolidation and the role of identity consolidation in personality change.

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