Identity status change during adolescence and young adulthood: a meta-analysis

J Adolesc. 2010 Oct;33(5):683-98. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2009.11.002. Epub 2009 Dec 11.


The present study was designed to examine developmental patterns of identity status change during adolescence and young adulthood through meta-analysis. Some 124 studies appearing in PsycINFO, ERIC, Sociological Abstracts, and Dissertation Abstracts International between 1966 and 2005 provided data. All calculations were performed using the software program, Comprehensive Meta-analysis. Results from longitudinal studies showed the mean proportion of adolescents making progressive identity status changes was .36, compared with .15 who made regressive changes and .49 who remained stable. Cross-sectional studies showed the mean proportion of moratoriums rising steadily to age 19 years and declining thereafter, while the mean proportion of the identity achieved rose over late adolescence and young adulthood; foreclosure and diffusion statuses declined over the high school years, but fluctuated throughout late adolescence and young adulthood. Meta-analyses showed that large mean proportions of samples were not identity achieved by young adulthood. Possible reasons for this phenomenon are explored.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ego*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuation
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Personality Development*
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Regression, Psychology
  • Self Concept*
  • Young Adult