Identity and intimacy development across adolescence, a cross-sectional study

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Battle, Paula C.
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The purpose of this study was to empirically investigate the course of identity and intimacy development across adolescence in light of Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development and the Self-in-Relation model of women's development (Jordan, 1997; Jordan et al., 1991). A cross-sectional design was used with males and females at 13, 16, and 20 years of age. Measures included The Measures of Psychosocial development (Hawley, 1984); the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation - Behavior (Schutz, 1978); the Bem Sex Role Inventory (Bem, 1974); the Adolescent Sex Role Inventory (Thomas & Robinson, 1981); and the Identity Status Interview (Marcia, 1966). Overall, there was lower identity development for both males and females in mid adolescence relative to early and late adolescence. As well, females demonstrated higher intimacy levels at both early and late adolescence. The results provide support for the self-in-relation model of women's development. In addition, there was evidence that both males and females take others into consideration when making identity decisions. There was no evidence that participants' gender roles affected their identity and intimacy development.