Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The current study was the second part of a longitudinal study, which sought to explore psychosocial development in an older population of emerging adults. Specifically, it examined cross-sectional and longitudinal relations between psychosocial development and internalizing symptoms, as well as between psychosocial development and well-being. Possible mediating and moderating factors were also considered. Two hundred and twelve eligible individuals from one private Midwestern University and one small private college on the East Coast, who completed measures as college seniors, were invited to participate in the second wave of the study, approximately 1½ years after graduation. Participants were asked to complete a series of questionnaires to assess six constructs: autonomy development, separation-individuation, identity formation, feeling "in-between," feeling "off time," physiological arousal due to stress, perceived external stress, psychological adjustment, and well-being.

Higher levels of nurturance seeking (Time 2), a subscale of separation-individuation, predicted higher levels of internalizing symptoms (Time 2). Higher levels of identity achievement (Time 2), a subscale of identity formation, were predictive of lower levels of internalizing symptoms (Time 2) and higher levels of well-being (Time 2). Feeling "in-between" and feeling "off time" did not mediate the relations between psychosocial development and the outcome variables; however, stress (Time 2) fully mediated the relation between nurturance seeking (Time 2) and internalizing symptoms (Time 2). Stress also partially mediated the relations between identity achievement (Time 2) and internalizing symptoms (Time 2), and between identity achievement (Time 2) and well-being (Time 2). Moderation analyses found that at high levels of stress (Time 2), low levels of identity achievement (Time 2) were significantly predictive of high levels of internalizing symptoms (Time 2). Finally, no significant gender interactions were found.

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Creative Commons License
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