Adolescent Identity Development: The Relationship with Leisure Lifestyle and Motivation
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Identity development is a crucial process which occurs during the period of adolescence (Erikson, 1950, 1968). Researchers have suggested that the adolescent period is becoming prolonged due to increasing numbers of individuals pursuing post-secondary education (Kerckhoff, 2002; Larson, 2002; Mortimer & Larson, 2002). During this period known as “post-adolescence”, further identity formation is believed to take place (Mortimer & Larson, 2002). Despite these suggestions, little research has been performed regarding identity development during post-adolescence. In addition, the role of leisure during the identity formation period has largely been overlooked. The few studies that have been conducted on this topic focus on the relationship between leisure participation and identity development, while failing to acknowledge the role of other salient leisure lifestyle variables such as leisure experience, motivation and meaningfulness. In addition, previous studies have used global measures of identity, rather than considering separate dimensions of personal and social identity. The present study expands upon previous literature by investigating personal and social identity development during post-adolescence, and the relationship between identity and a variety of leisure lifestyle variables. Participants included 465 students from the University of Waterloo. Questionnaires were completed regarding leisure participation, meaningfulness derived from participation, leisure experience, motivation and identity. Results of the study indicate that identity development is still occurring during the period of post-adolescence. Leisure participation, meaningfulness, leisure experience and motivation all displayed some degree of a relationship with identity. Personal and social identities yielded differing associations with these leisure lifestyle factors. Personal identity was most strongly related to leisure experience, while social identity was associated with leisure motivation. Although causality cannot be inferred from the results of this study, indications do exist that these leisure lifestyle variables may exert some influence on the identity development process.