Identity Before Adulthood: The Identity of Upper Secondary School Students in Poland

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Wydawnictwo Naukowe Wydziału Nauk Społecznych UAM

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The process of identity formation in late adolescence these days differs significantly from what it was in the previous generations. This is a consequence of the demographic and economic changes that have taken place in recent years, locally as well as globally. The research project whose selected results are presented in this monograph concerned young people’s functioning in the late phase of adolescence. The object of analysis was identity at the threshold of adulthood and its sociocultural correlates (gender, type of upper secondary school, parents’ education) as well as selected psychological correlates: (the cognitive styles involved in identity formation; three self-conscious emotions: pride, shame, and guilt; moratorium and transitive life orientation and the type of social participation). The research was conducted in Poznań, in six vocational school complexes and three general secondary schools, in 2012-2015. The obtained material made it possible to perform cross-sectional (the results of six groups of students from six consecutive stages of the study), time-lag (three consecutive years of first- and second-year students), and longitudinal comparisons (changes during three years of study in the upper secondary school). The analysis of results showed that gender, age, and parents’ education were factors of low significance to identity formation. Among the psychological factors, the style of processing identity problems, transitive life orientation, and the sense of pride had the highest positive significance. The results clearly show that the educational environment of schools with vocational curricula is not conducive to the development of mature forms of identity.



This publication was financed by OPUS 2 research grant no. 2011/03/B/HS6/01884 for 2012-2017, obtained from the National Science Centre (NCN), Poland, for the project titled Mechanisms of Identity Formation During the Transition From Adolescence to Adulthood: The Regulatory Role of Self-Conscious Emotions (principal investigator: Professor Anna I. Brzezińska, PhD hab.) and by statutory research funds of the Institute of Psychology and funds of Social Sciences Faculty of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.


adolescence, entry into adulthood, dimensions of identity development, identity formation, identity status, life orientation, type of social participation, pride, guilt, shame, styles of processing identity problems


Brzezińska, A.I., Identity Before Adulthood: The Identity of Upper Secondary School Students in Poland, Poznań 2017, pp.299.




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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego