Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 89–108 | Cite as

Identity Statuses and Event-Focused Narratives at University Starting Point in Italy

  • Luigia Simona SicaEmail author
  • Koen Luyckx
  • Luc Goossens
  • Giancarlo Ragozini
  • Laura Aleni Sestito


The purpose of this study was to explore in greater depth the identity formation processes in Italian university students starting from previous studies that have provided support for a “postponed Identity”. Given the particular socio-economic difficulties of the Italian context, especially occupational uncertainty, this study assumes that the years of university for Italian students are rather like a time of standby, a period when students are allowed to remain in moratorium (institutionalized) or diffusion statuses and disengage from tasks related to personal and professional identity consolidation. For this purpose, the study focuses initially on the person-centred approach by measuring identity statuses in students attending the first 2 years of university and in students attending the fourth and fifth years of university. Subsequently, it focuses on the first 2 years of university through an event-focused approach, exploring narrative accounts of memorable daily life events perceived as important for identity construction, and to deepen our understanding of the subjective dimension of personal changes. Based on five identity dimensions, the cluster analysis indicated that six identity statuses could be extracted for both students groups: achievement, foreclosure, moratorium, diffused diffusion, carefree diffusion and undifferentiated. Each of these clusters revealed a distinct profile in terms of narrative universes of meaning. The study explored associations between narratives, reflecting a particular focus on the identity content and identity statuses. Suggestions for future research and limitations are discussed.


Identity statuses Diary Event-focused narratives University students 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest concerning this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luigia Simona Sica
    • 1
    Email author
  • Koen Luyckx
    • 2
  • Luc Goossens
    • 2
  • Giancarlo Ragozini
    • 3
  • Laura Aleni Sestito
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesUniversity of Naples “Federico II”NaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyK.U.LeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Political SciencesUniversity of Naples “Federico II”NaplesItaly

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