Developmental regulation strategies and identity processes are hypothesized as influencing one another over time. This three-wave longitudinal study (N = 369; 20% male) examined, for the first time, the extent to which (a) identity exploration and commitment processes and (b) developmental regulation strategies (goal engagement and disengagement) predicted one another over time; and whether change in identity processes was correlated with change in developmental regulation strategies. Cross-lagged analyses indicated that goal engagement predicted commitment processes and exploration in breadth whereas goal disengagement predicted exploration in depth and reconsideration of commitment. Change in goal engagement was correlated with change in commitment processes, reconsideration of commitment, and exploration in breadth and depth. Change in goal disengagement was correlated with change in all three exploration processes and in reconsideration of commitment. Our longitudinal results suggest mechanisms of human development (stability-flexibility) and may suggest broader developmental principles underlying goal pursuit and identity work among emerging adults.
- goal disengagement
- goal engagement
- identity processes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)