Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Michael Pratt

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The purpose of the present study was to determine the relationships among personal life stories, identity status development and family climate during late adolescence. The current study examines the parallels between two conceptions of identity: Marcia's interview assessment of identity status development, and McAdams’ narrative conception of identity development as revealed through the life story. A sample of 131 high school students, 51 males and 80 females, were asked to recall and discuss a critical incident that had a crucial impact on their beliefs and values. Marcia's interview assessment of identity status was also administered for vocational and religious domains. Participants completed Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg and Dornbusch's (1991) perceived parenting style questionnaire, and Bytes, Byrne, Boyle, and Offord’s (1988) family assessment device (FAD) for family cohesion. The critical incident narratives were coded for their clarity and coherence. Results indicated that the clarity and coherence of narratives were significantly positively related to the development of vocational identity status on the Marcia measure, as predicted, but not to the development of religious identity status. Neither vocational identity status, nor religious identity status was significantly related to student reports of more authoritative parenting. However, a more cohesive family environment, as assessed by the FAD, was significantly positively related to a more advanced vocational identity status, but not significantly related to religious identity status. A more authoritative family climate was not significantly related to narrative clarity, or coherence. However, the FAD revealed a significant positive relationship with narrative clarity, but not coherence. These findings suggest that there is only modest overlap between the identity status constructs of Marcia, and the life story narrative construct of McAdams. It appears that these are two reasonably distinct frameworks for studying identity development, at least during this mid-adolescent period.

Convocation Year


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