ERIC Number: ED420445
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Breadth of Interests, Exploration, and Identity Development in Adolescence.
Schmitt-Rodermund, Eva; Vondracek, Fred W.
Exploration is known to be a precursor of identity achievement and, thus, to a healthy transition to adulthood. This study examined antecedents of exploratory behavior in adolescence and the role of such behavior in identity development. Participants were 933 respondents in a 1991 national survey of German youth, ranging in age from 13 to 19 and with an average age of 14.9 years. Exploration was assessed using adolescents' reports of current activities and likes in leisure, school, technology, movies, and music, with a composite score indicating the breadth of activities. The breadth of childhood activities was assessed retrospectively using 12 activities indicating an active and creative use of time, creative games, cultural activities, and technical games. Also assessed were the adolescents' goal-directedness, perception of parenting style, parental modeling during childhood, and their identity beliefs. The results indicated that, consistent with Marcia's (1980) theory of identity status, identity achievers and adolescents in moratorium reported the most exploration, while adolescents in identity diffusion explored least. Retrospective childhood data revealed that breadth of childhood interests, as indicated by active engagement in technical and cultural activities, were the strongest predictors of exploration in adolescence. Parenting behavior, primarily joint activities with children, predicted adolescent exploration only when childhood breadth of activities was not included in the analyses at the same time. Parental behavior, however, had a strong and direct impact on childhood breadth of interests. Thus, childhood breadth of activities was a true mediator of the relationship between parenting behavior and adolescent exploration. (Contains 55 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany