The role of future -related thinking and perceived social support in identity development processes
Although Erikson (1963) stressed the roles of temporal continuity and interpersonal context in identity development, indices of these concepts have been for the most part absent from identity research. As such, the present study examined the relationship of future-related attitudes and perceived social support from friends and family to concurrent identity exploration and commitment and to change in these processes over time. Participants included 326 undergraduates who completed a questionnaire in the Fall semester of their freshman year and a subsample of 59 of these students who completed a follow up questionnaire in the Spring semester of their senior year. For the freshman sample, results indicated that perception of greater amounts of social support from friends and family and a view of the future that is predictable, structured, controllable, and optimistic are related to firmer commitments to identity domains. However, a view of the future as predictable, structured, and controllable is related to less identity exploration. Compared to males, females reported a greater amount of social support from friends and family and a higher level of identity commitment. Overall, these findings indicate that attitudes toward the future and perceived social support are important to the study of identity development, and support the use of separate scores for exploration and commitment in doing so. Future research should further examine the operationalization of identity exploration and consider utilizing a larger sample size in order to examine how future-related thinking and perceived social support relate to the change in identity processes over time.
Cisek, Edward, "The role of future -related thinking and perceived social support in identity development processes" (2004). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3125005.