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Flavia Albarello and Elisabetta Crocetti equally contributed to this work.
The development of personal and social identity is crucial in adolescence. On the one hand, adolescents face the task of forming and consolidating their personal identity in multiple domains, with educational and interpersonal domains particularly salient. On the other hand, they enlarge their social horizon and increasingly define themselves as members of multiple peer groups, such as groups of classmates and friends met outside school. There is however a lack of integrative research on the interplay among and between personal and social identity processes. Hence the purpose of this study was threefold. First, we examined how personal identity processes in the educational and interpersonal domains are associated longitudinally. Second, we investigated to what extent social identifications with classmates and with the group of friends are associated over time. Third, with an original approach we examined the longitudinal interplay between personal and social identity processes, to connect theoretical contributions that have so far proceeded largely in parallel. Participants were 304 adolescents (61.84% female, M age = 17.49) involved in a three-wave longitudinal study. We found that (a) the ways in which adolescents develop their identity in the educational and interpersonal domains become more closely intertwined over time; (b) identifications with classmates and with the group of friends are interconnected; and (c) personal and social identity processes are associated both concurrently and longitudinally, with most cross-lagged effects showing that social identifications influence personal identity formation and consolidation in the interpersonal identity domain. Theoretical implications are discussed.
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- I and Us: A Longitudinal Study on the Interplay of Personal and Social Identity in Adolescence
- Springer US