Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 749–759 | Cite as

A Cross-Cultural Perspective on the Relationships between Emotional Separation, Parental Trust, and Identity in Adolescents

  • Kazumi Sugimura
  • Elisabetta Crocetti
  • Kai Hatano
  • Goda Kaniušonytė
  • Shogo Hihara
  • Rita Žukauskienė
Empirical Research


Emotional separation and parental trust in parent–adolescent relationships are important factors for adolescent identity formation. However, prior research findings on emotional separation are inconsistent. This study aimed to conduct a more rigorous examination of the associations of emotional separation and parental trust with identity synthesis, confusion, and consolidation by applying a bi-factor model to identity, using adolescent samples from Lithuania (N = 610; 53.9% female; M age  = 14.92), Italy (N = 411; 57.4% female; M age  = 15.03), and Japan (N = 759; 43.7% female; M age  = 14.13). Structural equation modeling revealed that emotional separation and parental trust were consistently associated with identity consolidation across the three countries, rather than associated with identity synthesis and identity confusion. Furthermore, the patterns of associations of emotional separation and parental trust with identity synthesis and identity confusion differed across the three nations. Overall, this study provides a better understanding of the role of emotional separation and parental trust in adolescent identity formation by suggesting the importance of the identity consolidation in the association between parent–child relationships and identity formation across three countries.


Identity Emotional separation Parental trust Adolescence Cross-cultural perspectives 



The authors thank Dr. Manabu Tsuzuki, Dr. Reiko Nakama, and Dr. Shinichi Mizokami for their help with data collection and various suggestions for this study.

Authors’ Contributions

K.S. and R.Ž. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, and drafted the manuscript; E.C. participated in its design and coordination and drafted the manuscript; K.H. participated in its design, performed the statistical analysis, and drafted the manuscript; G.K. participated in the design of the study and helped to draft the manuscript; S.H. performed the statistical analysis and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


K.S. was supported by the JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C), 15K04070. R.Ž. was supported by the grant from the Lithuanian Research Council [grant number LJB-5/2015].

Data Sharing Declaration

This manuscript’s data will not be deposited. The datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazumi Sugimura
    • 1
  • Elisabetta Crocetti
    • 2
  • Kai Hatano
    • 3
  • Goda Kaniušonytė
    • 4
  • Shogo Hihara
    • 1
  • Rita Žukauskienė
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Graduate School of EducationHiroshima UniversityHigashihiroshimaJapan
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyAlma Mater Studiorum University of BolognaBolognaItaly
  3. 3.Development Center for Higher EducationOsaka Prefecture UniversitySakaiJapan
  4. 4.Institute of PsychologyMykolas Romeris UniversityVilniusLithuania

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