Distinctiveness as a marker of identity formation

L. Van Doeselaar*, T. A. Klimstra, J.A. Denissen, W.H.J. Meeus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Individual distinctiveness is theorized to characterize an adaptive identity, but its importance remained underexplored. In two studies, we investigated the nomological networks of two common conceptualizations of distinctiveness: general and comparative distinctiveness. We compared these to the network of identity formation’s best-validated marker: commitment. Findings from two samples of young adults living in the Netherlands (n = 320) and in the US (n = 246) both revealed that general distinctiveness marked adaptive identity formation and greater psychosocial well-being. Moreover, general distinctiveness had unique predictive value over commitment strength. Comparative distinctiveness from important others uniquely indicated lowered social well-being. Our findings illustrate that careful attention should be paid to the conceptualization of distinctiveness, because distinctiveness is an important but complex concept.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-164
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Volume78
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Netherlands
Young Adult

Keywords

  • ADOLESCENCE
  • ATTRACTION
  • Commitment
  • Distinctiveness
  • EMERGING ADULTHOOD
  • EXPLORATION
  • Identity
  • LONELINESS
  • NARCISSISTIC ADMIRATION
  • PRELIMINARY VALIDATION
  • RELATIONSHIP SATISFACTION
  • SELF
  • SIMILARITY
  • Self
  • Uniqueness

Cite this

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title = "Distinctiveness as a marker of identity formation",
abstract = "Individual distinctiveness is theorized to characterize an adaptive identity, but its importance remained underexplored. In two studies, we investigated the nomological networks of two common conceptualizations of distinctiveness: general and comparative distinctiveness. We compared these to the network of identity formation’s best-validated marker: commitment. Findings from two samples of young adults living in the Netherlands (n = 320) and in the US (n = 246) both revealed that general distinctiveness marked adaptive identity formation and greater psychosocial well-being. Moreover, general distinctiveness had unique predictive value over commitment strength. Comparative distinctiveness from important others uniquely indicated lowered social well-being. Our findings illustrate that careful attention should be paid to the conceptualization of distinctiveness, because distinctiveness is an important but complex concept.",
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doi = "10.1016/j.jrp.2018.12.002",
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Distinctiveness as a marker of identity formation. / Van Doeselaar, L.; Klimstra, T. A.; Denissen, J.A.; Meeus, W.H.J.

In: Journal of Research in Personality, Vol. 78, 2019, p. 153-164.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Distinctiveness as a marker of identity formation

AU - Van Doeselaar, L.

AU - Klimstra, T. A.

AU - Denissen, J.A.

AU - Meeus, W.H.J.

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Individual distinctiveness is theorized to characterize an adaptive identity, but its importance remained underexplored. In two studies, we investigated the nomological networks of two common conceptualizations of distinctiveness: general and comparative distinctiveness. We compared these to the network of identity formation’s best-validated marker: commitment. Findings from two samples of young adults living in the Netherlands (n = 320) and in the US (n = 246) both revealed that general distinctiveness marked adaptive identity formation and greater psychosocial well-being. Moreover, general distinctiveness had unique predictive value over commitment strength. Comparative distinctiveness from important others uniquely indicated lowered social well-being. Our findings illustrate that careful attention should be paid to the conceptualization of distinctiveness, because distinctiveness is an important but complex concept.

AB - Individual distinctiveness is theorized to characterize an adaptive identity, but its importance remained underexplored. In two studies, we investigated the nomological networks of two common conceptualizations of distinctiveness: general and comparative distinctiveness. We compared these to the network of identity formation’s best-validated marker: commitment. Findings from two samples of young adults living in the Netherlands (n = 320) and in the US (n = 246) both revealed that general distinctiveness marked adaptive identity formation and greater psychosocial well-being. Moreover, general distinctiveness had unique predictive value over commitment strength. Comparative distinctiveness from important others uniquely indicated lowered social well-being. Our findings illustrate that careful attention should be paid to the conceptualization of distinctiveness, because distinctiveness is an important but complex concept.

KW - ADOLESCENCE

KW - ATTRACTION

KW - Commitment

KW - Distinctiveness

KW - EMERGING ADULTHOOD

KW - EXPLORATION

KW - Identity

KW - LONELINESS

KW - NARCISSISTIC ADMIRATION

KW - PRELIMINARY VALIDATION

KW - RELATIONSHIP SATISFACTION

KW - SELF

KW - SIMILARITY

KW - Self

KW - Uniqueness

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VL - 78

SP - 153

EP - 164

JO - Journal of Research in Personality

JF - Journal of Research in Personality

SN - 0092-6566

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