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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

McLean, Kate C.

Second Advisor

Goodvin, Rebecca

Third Advisor

Forgays, Deborah


Past research of emerging adults has yet to investigate the individual experiences and processes of identity development in emerging adults who are in the workforce or currently unemployed (Hendry & Kloep, 2007), predominately focusing on emerging adults attending universities. The current study expands the study of identity development in emerging adulthood to include varied educational contexts. The current study compared normative college students, first generation college students, technical college students and those who have never attended college, to evaluate potential group differences in identity exploration and the relationship between identity exploration and psychological adjustment. Emerging adults in college contexts engaged in more complex identity processing than those who never attended college. However, identity achievement was associated with positive outcomes in all groups. Further, it appears that the contexts under which identity processing occur may vary, though this remains a question for future research.




Identity (Psychology) in youth, Young adults--Psychological aspects, Young adults--Education--Psychological aspects, College students--Psychological aspects


Western Washington University

OCLC Number



masters theses




Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

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