Fostering the development of identity and intimacy during late adolescence

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

William Kurtines

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Patricia Telles-Irvin

Third Advisor's Name

Wendy K. Silverman

Fourth Advisor's Name

Jonathan G. Tubman

Date of Defense



This dissertation tested the effectiveness of a psychosocial intervention, the Personal Development in the Context of Relationships (PDCR) program. The aim of the PDCR seeks to foster the development (or enhancement) of a sense of identity and intimacy among adolescents who participate in the program. The PDCR is a psychosocial group intervention which utilizes interpersonal relationship issues as a context to foster personal development in identity formation and facilitate the development of an individual's capacity for intimacy. The PDCR uses intervention strategies which include skills and knowledge development, experiential group exercises, and exploration for insight. Participants consisted of 1 10 late adolescents. A mixed-subjects design (prepost-follow up) was used to assess the effectiveness; efficacy and utility of the PDCR on the experimental condition relative to a content/social contact control group and a time control condition. Identity exploration and identity commitment were measured by the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire (EIPQ). Total intimacy and identity role satisfaction were measured by the Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory (EPSI). Relationship quality and closeness were measured by the Relationship Quality Scale (RQS) and the Relationship Closeness Inventory (RCI) in an effort to assess whether any potential impact on interpersonal relationships occurs. Mixed MANOVAs were used to analyze the data with results yielding significant values for increased total identity exploration from pre to post test and decreases in total identity commitment from pre to post to follow-up test in the experimental group relative to the control conditions on the EIPQ. Further results indicated increases in total intimacy from pre to post to follow-up test in the experimental group relative to the control conditions on the EPSI. No clear trends emerged from pre to post to follow-up test for the Relationship measures. Results are discussed in terms of both practical and theoretical implications.



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