Identity Trajectories and Narratives During the Transition Out of Undergraduate Education Among Georgian Emerging Adults

Nino Skhirtladze, Nino Javakhishvili, Moin Syed, Theo Klimstra, Seth J. Schwartz, Koen Luyckx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The transition out of university education and into the workforce represents a turning point in terms of the evolution of one’s goals, roles, responsibilities, relationships, and lifestyle. For this reason, this transition might create important challenges and opportunities for identity formation. The present mixed-method longitudinal study examined identity formation processes in a sample of Georgian final-year undergraduate students over an 11-month period at four different points before and after graduation. At time 1, 369 participants (20% male, mean age = 21.83) completed self-report questionnaires. Life narratives were collected from a subsample of 40 individuals who participated at the last (i.e., fourth) time point. Latent class growth analysis (LCGA) was used to identify developmental typologies of identity formation based on dimensions of commitment and exploration, collected at all four time points. Four trajectory classes—Moratorium, Foreclosure, Troubled Diffusion, and Undifferentiated—were identified. Qualitative results suggest that childhood and family relationships, independence/autonomy/adulthood, education/occupation, and romantic relationships represented salient identity related themes among the study participants. Narratives of trajectory representatives provided insights and the phenomenological accounts of emerging adults’ experiences during the transition and highlight specific characteristics of each trajectory class.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2372-2387
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 8 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was not preregistered. Materials and analysis code for this study are available by emailing the corresponding author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association


  • Identity trajectories
  • Mixed-method research
  • Narrative identity
  • Transition out of university education
  • Narration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Universities
  • Young Adult
  • Students
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Child
  • Longitudinal Studies

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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