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

Keywords

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

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