Type of the Article
The article by Beyers and Seiffge-Krenke (2010) explores the relationships between an individual’s identity and their intimate life. This article is a report on new research. This can easily be seen from the abstract of the article, which states that the authors utilized data obtained from interviews and questionnaires during a longitudinal study of 93 adolescent individuals in order to test a number of hypotheses (Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010). In addition, the article contains the “Method” and “Results” sections, which are characteristic of research articles; the “Method” section describes the sample, measures, and procedures, while the “Results” section reports and discusses the results of statistical tests (Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010). The research is quantitative; it is an observational (more specifically, a longitudinal) study (Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010).
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Summary of the Content of the Article
The review of the literature given in the article provides an explanation of Erikson’s theory of ego development (Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010). According to this theory, the capability of individuals to commit to relationships without being afraid to “lose oneself” in the partner is pivotal for young individuals, and a well-formed identity permits people to start such relationships, whereas an undeveloped identity causes them to engage in identity exploration, preventing them from starting long-term partnerships (Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010). Therefore, according to this theory, the inability to create one’s identity during one’s adolescence, to identify oneself with proper roles in their lives, may cause an individual to experience difficulties pertaining to the task of creating and maintaining long-term commitments and intimate relationships; in contrast, persons who have developed a strong sense of identity will usually find this task less difficult (Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010).
The main purpose of the study by Beyers and Seiffge-Krenke (2010) was to test the elements of Erikson’s theory. More specifically, statistical methods were used to test whether the development of one’s identity in middle adolescence predicted the development of intimate relationships during the stage of emerging adulthood; and to investigate whether the achievement of identity at the point of transition to adulthood could serve as a mediator for this association (Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010).
The major findings of the study include the following. First, it was found out that gender played no major role in the association between ego development and intimacy. Second, it was discovered that identity development at the age of 15 years was a strong predictor of intimacy at the age of 25 years; this was supported by the following statistical data: raw estimate b=.07, 95% confidence interval=.03–.11 (Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010, p. 402). Third, global aspects of identity achievement at the age of 24 did not mediate the relationship between identity development at the age of 15 and the intimacy at the age of 25, for the relationship between the global identity achievement at the age of 24 and the intimacy at the age of 25 was not significant (b=.17, 95% CI=-.02–.36).
Fourth, in contrast to the previous item, relational aspects of identity achievement played the role of mediator between identity development at the age of 15 and the intimacy at the age of 25; this was supported by statistical findings that a strong identity development had a significant (p<.001) relationship with relational identity development at the age of 24, whereas relational identity development at the age of 24 had a significant correlation with intimacy at the age of 25 (p<.01; Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010, pp. 402-403). Also, in this analysis, the original association between identity development at the age of 15 and the intimacy at the age of 25 was reduced to non-significant levels, confirming the mediating role of relational identity achievement at the age of 24 (Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010, pp. 402-403).
How the Article Fits Into Developmental Psychology
The article is directly related to the field of Developmental Psychology due to the fact that it explores the manner in which the formation of an individual’s identity in their adolescent age influences their readiness to engage in a long-term intimate relationship during their early adulthood. In other words, it scrutinizes the way in which two aspects of an individual’s development (identity formation and engaging in relationships) interact over the course of two stages of psychosocial development (adolescence and early adulthood; Beyers & Seiffge-Krenke, 2010).
It should be noted that the periods and issues discussed in this article are touched upon in parts VI-VII (more specifically, in chapters 11–14, but primarily in chapters 12 and 14) of the textbook by Berk (2014).
How the Article Is Similar to and Different From Articles in Non-Scholarly Periodicals
On the whole, it should be stressed that the article by Beyers and Seiffge-Krenke (2010) is somewhat similar to articles that are published in popular, non-scholarly periodicals such as newspapers and magazines, in that it provides some new information for a specific audience that it is targeted at.
However, the article by Beyers and Seiffge-Krenke (2010) has more differences than similarities to articles that can be found in non-scholarly periodicals. For instance, it provides a rather comprehensive review of literature on the topic; it is based on the findings of authors that were made as a result of data collection and statistical analysis of that data; it reports the statistical measures used to obtain the results, the exact gained results, etc. Also, the article by Beyers and Seiffge-Krenke (2010) supplies a discussion of its findings, discusses the limitations of the study, and offers suggestions for further research. Usually, none of these elements can be found in non-scholarly periodicals.
Berk, L. E. (2014). Exploring lifespan development (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
Beyers, W., & Seiffge-Krenke, I. (2010). Does identity precede intimacy? Testing Erikson’s theory on romantic development in emerging adults of the 21st century. Journal of Adolescent Research, 25(3), 387-415.