Changing Economic Conditions and Identity Formation in Adulthood
Fadjukoff, P., Kokko, K., & Pulkkinen, L. (2010). Changing Economic Conditions and Identity Formation in Adulthood. European Psychologist, 15 (4), 293-303 . doi:10.1027/1016-9040/a000061
Published inEuropean Psychologist
© 2010 Hogrefe Publishing. This is a Final Draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Hogrefe Publishing.
Identity formation in political and occupational domains was examined from young to middle adulthood based on an ongoing longitudinal study. In addition to the participants’ identity status (diffused, moratorium, foreclosed, achieved), we assessed their perceived importance of politics, future orientation, and career stability four times in adulthood, at ages 27, 36, 42, and 50. The number of participants varied between analyses, from 168 to 291. Changes in the economic situation in Finland from 1986 to 2009 provided a context for the study. Data collections at ages 36 (in 1995) and 50 (in 2009) took place during economic recessions, and at age 42 (in 2001) during an economic boom. The results were discussed from both age-graded and history-graded perspectives. Developmental trends in political and occupational identity were reversed across age and changes in the economic situation. Political identity was at its lowest level and occupational identity was at its highest level at age 42 during the economic boom. Political identity progressed at a time of economic recession at age 50, whereas occupational identity regressed. In women, identity changes were associated with personal career stability. The perceived importance of politics increased concurrently with political identity achievement. During the recession when they were age 50, women tended to worry about future financial problems, while men perceived their future depending decreasingly on themselves and increasingly on the world situation. The results indicate that macro-level economic conditions may have psychological implications on people’s conceptions of themselves that are worth considering in developmental studies. ...