Stability and Variability of Identity in Schoolchildren and Students

Keywords: identity, identity stability, identity variability, identity crisis, social identity, identity dynamics, gender identity, schoolchildren, students

Abstract

Introduction. This paper considers identity crisis from the viewpoint of stability and variability of its main components. To that end, an exploratory study has examined a relatively unexplored issue of stability of certain components of identity in schoolchildren and university students when they represent their past and future in self-descriptions.

Methods. The study used the following techniques: (a) the Twenty Statements Test by Kuhn and McPartland, (b) Your Lifeline by Kronik, and (c) the Test of Kelly Personal Constructs (a modified version).

Results. The study discovered that schoolchildren use educational component of identity in their self-descriptions more often than personal and existential ones. In student respondents, the increase in the level of family identity is typically accompanied by the reduced level of identity related to membership in informal groups and activity component. Gender, educational-professional, family, and personal identity components are prevalent in both schoolchildren and students’ subjective representations of their lives. However, schoolchildren demonstrate a greater dynamics of subjective representations of the past. Self-descriptions related to personal identity are the most stable in students, whereas in schoolchildren the most stable are self-descriptions related to the social component. Events related to education, family, and membership in informal groups are stable components of the subjective image of the past and future in schoolchildren and students. Finally, the findings suggest that students have stable constructs related to personality traits, family status, interpersonal relationships, and educational and professional activities.

Discussion. The authors compare their findings with the works of Mazilova, Miklyaeva, Rumyantseva, Crocetti, Meeus, and Abdukeram. The paper analyzes and discusses the difference in findings of studies that exercised different conceptual approaches to the identity issue (e.g., a heavy reliance on a three-component model in the western researcher tradition) and were based on different samples with diverse cultural backgrounds.

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Author Biographies

Mikhail Yu. Kuzmin, Scientific Center for Family Health and Human Reproduction Problems, Irkutsk State University

кандидат психологических наук, доцент кафедры общей психологии ФГБОУ ВО «ИГУ»

Igor' A. Konopak, Irkutsk State University, Irkutsk, Russian Federation

кандидат философских наук, декан факультета психологии ФГБОУ ВО «ИГУ»

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Published
2019-01-31
How to Cite
Kuzmin, M. Y., & Konopak, I. A. (2019). Stability and Variability of Identity in Schoolchildren and Students. Russian Psychological Journal, 15(4), 113-141. https://doi.org/10.21702/rpj.2018.4.6
Section
Developmental Psychology