Motivation and psychological need fulfillment on the pathway to identity resolution

Nino Skhirtladze, Stijn Van Petegem, Nino Javakhishvili, Seth J. Schwartz, Koen Luyckx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Developing a personal identity is an important developmental task throughout emerging adulthood. Drawing upon the identity capital model (Côté in The identity capital model: A handbook of theory, methods, and findings. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Sociology, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, 2016) and self-determination theory (Ryan and Deci, in Leary and Tangney (eds) Handbook of self and identity, Guilford Press, New York, 2012), we examined how motivation toward study or work and psychological need fulfillment are associated with identity resolution. In a sample of 397 Georgian emerging adults (62% women), we examined whether emerging adults’ motivation for study or work predicted their subjective sense of themselves as an adult and their sense of being accepted as a member of society. We also tested whether fulfillment of three psychological needs (autonomy, relatedness, competence) played an intervening role in the relationship between motivation and identity resolution. Structural equation models indicated that self-determined motivation related positively, and amotivation negatively, to adult and societal identity resolution. Associations of controlled motivation with identity resolution were not significant. The links of self-determined motivation and amotivation appeared to be partly explained by psychological need fulfillment. Competence fulfillment was most strongly associated with adult identity resolution, whereas relatedness fulfillment was most strongly associated with societal identity resolution. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)894-905
Number of pages12
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Identity resolution
  • Motivation
  • Need fulfillment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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