Date of Award

8-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Anne McIntyre

Committee Members

Richard A. Saudargas, Brian Barber, John Lounsbury

Abstract

The current study attempted to illuminate the patterns of relations between the processes of separation-individuation and identity development in a late adolescent, university sample. A total of 281 undergraduate volunteers participated in the study, each completing the Separation-Individuation Test of Adolescence (SITA), the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire (EIPQ), and a brief demographic survey. Results indicate that there are significant relations between these two processes and that those combinations of separation-individuation variables that are associated with more process in identity development may differ by the identity test under investigation. Utilizing a stepwise multiple regression, degree of identity exploration was found to be best predicted by the combination of separation anxiety, healthy separation, nurturance seeking, and peer enmeshment components of separation-individuation. Identity commitment was best predicted by a distinctly different combination: practicing mirroring, nurturance seeking, separation anxiety, and dependency denial. Results also indicated that certain components of separation-individuation may have different meanings for men than for women, suggesting the need for ongoing sensitivity to possibly gender differences in these developmental processes. Finally, results from the current study are compared with those of earlier investigations.

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