Identity change in the educational context: A longitudinal study of upper-secondary school students

Anna I. Brzezińska, Konrad Piotrowski

Abstract


In the article we present the results of a study devoted to identity changes in late adolescence. The participants were students of three types of upper-secondary schools: basic vocational schools, technical upper-secondary schools, and general upper-secondary schools. Measurement was performed five times, in three consecutive years: 2012/2013, 2013/2014, and 2014/2015. The first measurement was carried out in the first semester of the first grade (students’ mean age: 16 years; n = 310), and the fifth measurement was performed during the first semester of the third grade (students’ mean age: 18 years). The number of students who took part in all five measurements was 118 (38% of the initial sample of n = 310). The instrument we used was the Dimensions of Identity Development Scale (DIDS/PL; Brzezińska & Piotrowski, 2010; Luyckx, Schwartz, Berzonsky et al., 2008). In the group of general upper-secondary school students, we observed an increase in adaptive exploration (in breadth and in depth) as well as an increase in the strength of commitments over the 2.5 years of schooling. Among students of vocational schools, especially basic vocational schools, we observed regressive changes, such as a decrease in adaptive exploration, a decrease in commitments, an increase in the experienced difficulties with identity formation (an increase in ruminative exploration). The results confirmed that different educational paths may involve differences in terms of the changes taking place in students’ identity in the period of adolescence.


Keywords


adaptive exploration; ruminative exploration; commitment making; late adolescence; upper-secondary schools; progressive changes; regressive changes

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18290/rpsych.2016.19.2-3en

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