Personality development from adolescence to emerging adulthood: linking trajectories of ego development to the family context and identity formation

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2013 Feb;104(2):371-84. doi: 10.1037/a0030070. Epub 2012 Sep 17.


This longitudinal study analyzed personality development using an individual approach by examining changes in ego development across the transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Specifically, the study mapped the heterogeniety in ego development growth trajectories and linked the different trajectories to the family context in adolescence and identity development in emerging adulthood. Participants were 98 families with a child who were followed from age 14 to age 24. Latent class growth analysis identified 4 distinct trajectories of growth in ego development of the children over the 10-year period. The results indicated that growth was more rapid during adolescence and tended to taper off in emerging adulthood. In addition, promotion of personal growth within the family and parents' ego development were particulary instrumental in children's ego developmental gains in adolescence. Finally, youth who demonstrated continued ego development into emerging adulthood also demonstrated heightened levels of identity exploration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Ego*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Identification, Psychological*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology
  • Personality Development*
  • Young Adult