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date: 19 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the role of identity processes (exploration, commitment, meaning-making) in personality functioning and development throughout adulthood. The chapter first addresses theoretical perspectives on personality and their implications for identity, with an emphasis on the view that identity processes are integrative and dynamic mechanisms of personality continuity and change over time. Next, empirical evidence is examined for the roles of identity processes in two distinct trajectories of personality development: adjustment and maturity. Whereas meaning-making about positive self-defining events is critical for the formation of identity commitments and development of a well-adjusted personality in emerging adulthood, negative events and their potential for transformative self-growth are critical for the development of maturity during midlife. The chapter then addresses new directions for research on identity and personality, focusing on how personality traits may moderate the optimal path of identity development and how intersections among identity domains are essential to an understanding of the whole person.

Keywords: Identity processes, personality development, positive and negative events, emerging adulthood, midlife, adjustment, maturity, traits as moderators, identity intersections, culture

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