The roles of adolescent identity formation and family relationships in psychological well-being
According to Erickson (1968), identity development marks an important developmental stage for adolescents. Individuals who have achieved a secure identity have higher self-esteem (Marcia, Waterman, Matteson, et al., 1993; Prager, 1982) and lower levels of depression (Wautier & Blume, 2004) than those with insecure or unexplored identities. Similarly, reciprocal parent-adolescent relationships have been shown to positively relate to adolescent psychological well-being in terms of self-esteem, depression, and perceived stress (Wintre & Yaffe, 2000). Finally, close parent-child relationships facilitate positive adolescent identity exploration when some independence is maintained (Campbell, Adams, & Dobson, 1984). However, identity processes have yet to be explored in the context of reciprocal parent-adolescent relationships and psychological well-being (i.e., self-esteem, depression, stress). A series of confirmatory factor analyses, followed by structural equation modeling determined that identity variables partially mediated the relationships between parental reciprocity and psychological well-being variables. Implications of these models are discussed in the context of gender differences.