A review and integration of three key components of identity development: Distinctiveness, coherence, and continuity

Lotte van Doeselaar, Andrik I. Becht, T.A. Klimstra, W.H.J. Meeus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Studies on identity formation focus on various components of identity. However,
these components have mainly been studied separately, and researchers in different fields are not always aware of each other’s work. Therefore, this systematic review provides an overview of theories and empirical studies on three key components of identity: distinctiveness (seeing the self as unique and distinct from others), coherence (perceiving the self as similar across life domains), and continuity (perceiving the self as the same person over time). This systematic review focused on the development of these components and linkages with psychosocial functioning. Findings suggest important differences between the three identity components. Therefore, we propose an integrative developmental framework of identity, including all three identity components and their linkages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-288
JournalEuropean Psychologist
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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