G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Uncertain future plans : personal identity among Finnish youth and its links with well-being, digital engagement and socio-economic circumstances (2019)

Mannerström, R. (2019). Uncertain future plans : personal identity among Finnish youth and its links with well-being, digital engagement and socio-economic circumstances [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU dissertations, 68. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7701-6

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Mannerström, Rasmus

eISBN: 978-951-39-7701-6

Journal or series: JYU dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2019

Number in series: 68

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (78 sivua, 70 sivua useina numerointijaksoina, 18 numeroimatonta sivua) :

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7701-6

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


For this dissertation I studied personal identity formation among Finnish
adolescents and young adults and its links with well-being, digital engagement
and socio-economic circumstances, referring to occupation, incomes and key
developmental transitions experienced in young adulthood. Experiencing a
sense of identity, defined as coherence, direction and meaning in life, is critical
for individuals’ psychological well-being and social integration. Sociological
theory and studies suggest that maintaining a sense of identity has become more
difficult than in the past, prolonging the task from adolescence well into
adulthood. At the same time, adolescents and young adults have new tools and
are developing new competencies to manage increasing contingency. Three
studies were conducted, where the Dimensions of Identity Development Scale
(DIDS) was employed to measure multiple aspects of exploration and
commitment within the identity domain of general future plans. Study 1 (N = 751,
Mage = 24.6, 60.3% women) showed a relatively high prevalence of identity
diffusion among Finnish young adults. In addition, positive identity
development was associated with strong well-being and both past and present
economic status. Study 2, conducted among a high-school sample (N = 932, Mage
= 17.1, 69% women), showed that identity formation was related to digital
practices and competencies. Study 3, in a longitudinal sample of young adults
(measured at ages 24 and 29; N = 854, 63% women), showed that identity
exploration and commitment processes decreased during this life-phase.
Moreover, these changes were moderated by developmental transitions such as
becoming a parent and achieving education-related full-time employment.
Further, parenthood was the variable most strongly linked with positive identity
development. In conclusion, the results suggest that identity is a major challenge
for Finnish young adults still in their mid and late twenties, with commitment
issues being more enduring and dynamic than hitherto recognised. A sense of
identity, in this case certainty regarding one’s future plans, remains in flux
depending on the individual’s social and economic circumstances. Cultural
context may further moderate how identity uncertainty is tolerated. Similarly,
digital engagement operates as an extension of mind and advanced digital
competence (cf. digital literacy) seems to support positive identity development.

Keywords: identity (mental objects); personality; mental well-being; young adults; growing up; financial status; new media; digital culture; information technology; future expectations; doctoral dissertations

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

Last updated on 2021-09-06 at 01:12