Identity Processes and Coping Strategies in College Students: Short-Term Longitudinal Dynamics and the Role of Personality

Koen Luyckx, Theo A. Klimstra, Bart Duriez, Seth J. Schwartz, Janne Vanhalst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Coping strategies and identity processes are hypothesized to influence one another over time. This three-wave longitudinal study (N = 458; 84. 9% women) examined, for the first time, how and to what extent identity processes (i. e., commitment making, identification with commitment, exploration in breadth, exploration in depth, and ruminative exploration) and coping strategies (i. e., problem solving, social support seeking, and avoidance) predicted one another over time. Cross-lagged analyses indicated that processes of identity exploration seemed especially to be intertwined with different coping strategies over time, suggesting that identity exploration may resemble problem-solving behavior on the pathway to an achieved identity. Commitment processes were found to be influenced by certain coping strategies, although identification with commitment also negatively influenced avoidance coping. These temporal sequences remained significant when controlling for baseline levels of Big Five personality traits. Hence, evidence was obtained for reciprocal pathways indicating that coping strategies and identity processes reinforce one another over time in college students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1226-1239
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012



  • Big Five
  • Commitment
  • Coping
  • Exploration
  • Identity
  • Longitudinal
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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