Identity Style During the Transition to Adulthood: The Role of Family Communication Patterns, Perceived Support, and Affect

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Young adulthood is a crucial period for identity development and an unclear sense of identity has been associated with deleterious psychological and social outcomes. Using structural equation modeling, this study tested a mediational model that connects family communication patterns (conversation orientation, conformity orientation, conversation × conformity) to identity styles (informational, normative, diffuse-avoidant) to perceptions of social support and affect (positive, negative) in a sample of 275 university students. An informational style was associated with higher levels of conversation orientation, higher levels of conformity orientation, and the interaction between conversation and conformity orientation. A normative style was associated with high conversation orientation and high conformity orientation. A diffuse-avoidant style was associated with conformity orientation alone. In turn, the informational style was positively associated with negative affect; the normative style was positively associated with perceptions of support and negatively with negative affect; and the diffuse-avoidant style was negatively associated with perceptions of support and positively associated with negative affect. Results indicate that identity style partially mediated the association between family communication patterns and perceptions of social support and negative affect. Hence, identity style may represent one mechanism by which the cumulative effects of family communication patterns affect psychosocial outcomes among young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-295
Number of pages21
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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