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J Adolesc. 2008 Apr;31(2):207-22. Epub 2007 Oct 23.

Capturing the dynamics of identity formation in various ethnic groups: development and validation of a three-dimensional model.

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Department of Educational Sciences, University of Macerata, P.O. Box: Piazzale Luigi Bertelli (Contrada Vallebona), 62100 Macerata, Italy.


The aim of this study was to develop a model of identity formation comprising three structural dimensions: commitment, in-depth exploration and reconsideration of commitment. A new tool, the Utrecht-Management of Identity Commitments Scale, was designed to assess these processes. Early and middle adolescents (N=1952) participated in this study. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed that the three-factor model provided a better fit than alternative one- and two-factor models. The model applied not only to the whole adolescent sample, but also to male and female subsamples and to early and middle adolescent age groups. Additionally, we established interethnic equivalence of the model, in that it also fit well for ethnic minority adolescents. In accordance with hypotheses, regression analyses showed that commitment, in-depth exploration and reconsideration of commitment were significantly related to measures of self and personality, psychosocial problems and parent-adolescent relations. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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