Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Randall M. Jones

Abstract

Ego-identity development has long been regarded as an important developmental process for late adolescents. According to existing literature, ego-identity achievement or committing oneself to a set of identity components after having explored viable identity alternatives (e.g., in matters of relationships, political philosophy, etc.), is conducive to a wide array of positive outcomes for individuals, families, and entire communities. The objective of this study was to examine the extent that college experiences and participation in LDS missionary service (i.e., moratorium experiences) were associated with ego-identity development, specifically in terms of identity exploration and commitment. A sample of late adolescents (N=425), all of whom had participated in at least some college and of whom 122 had volunteered as LDS missionaries, provided information about their moratorium experiences that could be related to identity development and reported their levels of identity exploration and commitment according to the Extended Objective Measure of Ego-Identity Status (EOMEIS-2).

Independent-samples t tests and chi-square tests were used to examine demographic and identity differences between LDS postmissionaries and LDS non-postmissionaries. LDS postmissionaries and LDS non-postmissionaries differed significantly only in the variables of sex and age.

Univariate ANOVA and regression were used to examine the extent to which college and missionary service were associated with overall identity scores. Bothe college studies and LDS missionary service were significantly associated with the four EOMEIS-2 subscale scores of diffusion, foreclosure, moratorium experiences differed significantly in the magnitude and/or direction of their prediction of identity outcomes only in moratorium and foreclosure scores. Both experiences were similarly positively associated with achievement scores and negatively associated with diffusion scores.

Stepwise linear regression was used to examine the extent to which certain features of college studies and missionary service were associated with identity scores. After controlling for age, sex, income, and years of education, numerous features of the two experiences, such as motives for participation, funding, frequency of weekly experiences, and learning a foreign language were significantly associated with identity scores. College features shared the greatest amount of variability with diffusion scores, and mission features shared the greatest amount of variability with foreclosure scores.

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