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Anxiety Trajectories and Identity Development in Adolescence: A Five-Wave Longitudinal Study

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 38 Issue: 6 Dated: July 2009 Pages: 839-849
Elisabetta Crocetti; Theo Klimstra; Loes Keijsers; William W. Hale III; Wim Meeus
Date Published
July 2009
11 pages
This five-wave longitudinal study examined the relationship between anxiety and adolescent identity development.
There was clear evidence to support the hypothesis that a high anxiety level is a risk factor for a troublesome identity formation compared with identity development for less anxious peers. Specifically, as anxious adolescents grew older, they became less certain about their commitments and reconsidered them intensively, showing significant difficulty in making relevant identity choices. Study participants were recruited from randomly selected junior high and high schools located in the Province of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Two cohorts were used: an early adolescent cohort (n=923; 468 boys and 455 girls, ages 10-15) at the first wave; and a middle adolescent cohort (n=390; 169 boys and 221 girls, ages 16-20). The Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders measured five anxiety symptoms: generalized anxiety, panic, school anxiety, separation anxiety, and social anxiety symptoms. The Utrecht-Management of Identity Commitments Scale was used to assess identity dimensions. These dimensions are commitment, indepth exploration, and reconsideration of commitment. These dimensions were applied to ideological and interpersonal domains. 2 tables, 3 figures, and 51 references