Employment, sense of coherence, and identity formation: Contextual and psychological processes on the pathway to sense of adulthood

Koen Luyckx, Seth J. Schwartz, Luc Goossens, Sophie Pollock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Scopus citations


The present study investigated the influence of contextual (i.e., being in college vs. being employed) and psychological (i.e., sense of coherence) processes on achieving a sense of adulthood in a sample of 317 emerging adults. Identity formation, conceptualized as multiple dimensions of exploration and of commitment, was conceived of as a mediator of these relationships. Individuals who perceive themselves as adults scored higher on commitment and lower on ruminative exploration than those who do not perceive themselves as full-fledged adults. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that the relationships of sense of coherence and attending college versus being employed to sense of adulthood were partially mediated by identity formation-and by the dimension of commitment making in particular. Being employed and scoring high on sense of coherence are directly and indirectly (through making stronger identity commitments) related to a greater sense of adulthood. Implications and suggestions for future research are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-591
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008



  • Emerging adulthood
  • Employment
  • Identity formation
  • Mediation
  • Sense of adulthood
  • Sense of coherence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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