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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses identity development from a process perspective, with specific focus on commitment and exploration as core processes of identity development. It begins with an overview of the theory on identity development. Via Erikson and Marcia, the authors discuss the recent models of Meeus and colleagues, as well as of Luyckx and colleagues, demonstrating that a process approach is becoming increasingly salient in thinking about identity development and arguing that, to understand the developmental processes, one needs to study the development of individuals. Next, the authors present a process model that describes how identity emerges from real-time events. Finally, the authors elaborate how, based on a dynamic systems perspective, researchers could set up studies that gain insight into the processes of emergence, stability, and change of commitments, and they discuss some simple techniques that can be used to study developmental processes on an individual level.

Keywords: Identity development, exploration, commitments, developmental processes, dynamic systems

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