The process of exploration in identity formation: The role of style and competence

A. M. Berman, S. J. Schwartz, W. M. Kurtines, S. L. Berman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


This study drew on two approaches to identity formation, each postulating differing but complementary exploration components (style and competence), in an effort to better understand the identity exploration process. The sample for this study (n=215) was socio-demographically diverse with respect to gender, age, ethnicity and setting, with participants drawn from two universities in two different settings (rural residential, and urban non-residential), with differing ethnicities (primarily non-Hispanic White vs. primarily Hispanic) and varying ages. Overall patterns of results revealed by hierarchical regression analyses were consistent with a process model of exploration and with the view that exploration is a multi-dimensional process comprized of multiple components. The findings also provide evidence for the utility of both of the critical constructivist and co-constructivist approaches to identity formation used in this study, and for the validity of the rich clinical/qualitative literature that gave rise to the construct of exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-528
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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