Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 172–183 | Cite as

Identity Processing Styles and Psychosocial Balance during Early and Middle Adulthood: The Role of Identity in Intimacy and Generativity

  • Sherry L. Beaumont
  • Michael M. Pratt


Identity styles and Eriksonian psychosocial balance were examined in young adults (N = 163; 64.4% women) and middle-aged adults (N = 132; 51.5% women). Participants completed self-report measures of identity styles (informational, normative, and diffuse-avoidant), identity commitment, and psychosocial balance (identity, intimacy, and generativity). Different patterns of psychosocial balance were found for each identity style, with largely consistent findings across age groups. The diffuse-avoidant style was negatively associated with all forms of psychosocial balance, the normative style was positively associated with identity and intimacy balance, and the informational style was positively associated with intimacy and generativity. Structural equation modeling revealed that identity balance predicted both intimacy and generativity for the diffuse-avoidant style (negative prediction) and normative style (positive prediction), whereas the informational style provided direct positive prediction of intimacy and generativity. The importance of an informational identity style for psychosocial balance during both early and middle adulthood is discussed.


Generativity Identity Intimacy Psychosocial balance 



This research was supported by a grant from the University of Northern British Columbia. Appreciation is extended to Jessica Madrid, Julie Orlando, Gail Pratt, and Cherisse Seaton for assistance with various phases of the research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  2. 2.Department of Counselling and AdvisingCollege of New CaledoniaPrince GeorgeCanada

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