Bringing Identity Content to the Fore: Links to Identity Development Processes

Kate C. McLean, Moin Syed, Hannah Shucard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


In the present study we examined the role of identity content in relation to identity processes in a sample of college-going emerging adults (n = 255). Participants reported eight narratives each (n = 2,040 narratives) in response to prompts for specific identity content domains (occupation, values, politics, religion, family, romance, friends, and sex roles), and completed survey measures of identity exploration and commitment. Narratives were coded for content and meaning-making. In general, participants reported the content requested but were less likely to do so in certain domains (e.g., religion) than others (e.g., family). Identity processes varied by content domain, suggesting that identity contents may require different forms of processing. Results reveal the importance of examining identity content for a fuller understanding of identity development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-364
Number of pages9
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • identity contents
  • identity development
  • identity processes
  • identity statuses
  • narrative identity


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