Adolescent identity - A qualitative approach: Self-concept, existential questions and adult contacts

Lena Adamson*, Sven G. Hartman, Björn Lyxell

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    In-depth interviews were performed with 12 adolescents (Swedish students, 16-19 years). Three questions were probed; what do adolescents say on the subjects of (a) themselves, (b) their existential questions, and (c) their adult contacts. The first two questions were aimed at elucidating the process of identity development, the last one at factors that may be influencing this process. The results showed that (a) balancing and controlling one's own needs and wishes in relation to others' was a central issue, (b) existential questions mainly concerned the personal future, (c) adult contacts outside the family were scarce and (d) all respondents expressed a need for adult contacts as sources of knowledge and experience. The conclusions are that identity formation during late adolescence consists of integrative issues where adults play a specific and important role.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-31
    Number of pages11
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999


    • Adolescence
    • Adult contacts
    • Existential questions
    • Identity
    • Interviews
    • Self-concept


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