Intergenerational associations linking identity styles and processes in adolescents and their parents

Koen Luyckx, Seth J Schwartz, Jessica Rassart, Theo A. Klimstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Identity formation is a lifelong task, yet much research focuses on adolescence and emerging adulthood. Little is known about whether parents' identities are related to their adolescent children's identities. The present studies were designed to examine intergenerational associations. Specifically, we focused on identity styles (Study 1 with 191 mother–adolescent and 170 father–adolescent dyads) and exploration and commitment processes (Study 2 with 230 mother–adolescent and 214 father–adolescent dyads). In Study 1, the information-oriented and normative styles, especially among mothers, were positively associated with these same styles among adolescents. Fathers' use of the normative and diffuse-avoidant style was positively associated with adolescents' use of these same styles. In Study 2, parental identification with commitment was positively associated with adolescent commitment making and negatively with adolescent ruminative exploration. Maternal exploration in depth was positively associated with adolescent exploration in depth and ruminative exploration. In sum, parents may function as role models for adolescent identity formation, although longitudinal research is needed to support more authoritative claims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-83
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016


  • Commitment
  • Exploration
  • Identity
  • Identity styles
  • Intergenerational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology

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