NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ878941
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 90
ISSN: ISSN-0743-5584
Does Identity Precede Intimacy? Testing Erikson's Theory on Romantic Development in Emerging Adults of the 21st Century
Beyers, Wim; Seiffge-Krenke, Inge
Journal of Adolescent Research, v25 n3 p387-415 2010
Erikson stated that healthy identity development during adolescence is a precursor of intimacy in romantic relationships during emerging adulthood. However, from a developmental contextual perspective, there are reasons to question this strict developmental ordering. Using interview and questionnaire data from a longitudinal study on 93 adolescents, the authors tested whether ego development in middle adolescence predicts intimacy in emerging adulthood. Second, the authors examined whether identity achievement at the transition to adulthood mediates this link. Results revealed direct links between early ego development (age 15) and intimacy in romantic relationships (age 25). No paths were found from earlier intimacy to later ego development. No gender differences occurred. Relational identity achievement, an integrative identity construct measured at age 24, fully mediated the association between earlier ego development and later intimacy. This study confirms Erikson's old ideas on the developmental ordering of identity and intimacy for youngsters in the 21st century. Moreover, it highlights the integrative function of relational identity for later mature intimacy. (Contains 1 table and 2 figures.)
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Sentence Completion Test