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On the Progression and Stability of Adolescent Identity Formation: A Five-Wave Longitudinal Study in Early-to-Middle and Middle-to-Late Adolescence



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 85, Issue 3, 1320, Article first published online: 10 May 2014

  • This study was supported by grants to Wim Meeus and Susan Branje from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

concerning this article should be addressed to Wim Meeus, Research Centre on Adolescent Development, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.140, 3508 TC Utrecht, Netherlands. Electronic mail may be sent to


This study examined identity development in a 5-wave study of 923 early-to-middle and 390 middle-to-late adolescents thereby covering the ages of 12–20. Systematic evidence for identity progression was found: The number of diffusions, moratoriums, and searching moratoriums (a newly obtained status) decreased, whereas the representation of the high-commitment statuses (2 variants of a [fore]closed identity: “early closure” and “closure,” and achievement) increased. We also found support for the individual difference perspective: 63% of the adolescents remained in the same identity status across the 5 waves. Identity progression was characterized by 7 transitions: diffusion → moratorium, diffusion → early closure, moratorium → closure, moratorium → achievement, searching moratorium → closure, searching moratorium → achievement, and early closure → achievement.