This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Adolescent Action-taking: Associations with Identity Style, Possible Selves, and Parental Support




Swart, Sarah

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Action-taking is the intentional behavior in which adolescents engage. Productive action-taking promotes positive youth outcomes and future goal-achievement. The aims of the current study were to examine variation in adolescent action-taking and to explore factors associated with action-taking. Two ways of looking at action-taking were examined. Goal-directed behaviors are actions chosen by adolescents that are in intentional and goal-oriented. Weekly time-use reveals patterns of activity choices of adolescents. Three factors that may be associated with action-taking were explored. Identity style represents the way in which adolescents manage the exploration and commitment of identity issues. Possible selves are hoped for future selves that serve as goals to be attained. Perceived parental support for adolescent’ action-taking are the adolescents’ experiences of their parents’ encouragement and facilitation of action taking. Participants were 25 adolescents, ages 15 and 16, and one or both of their parents (parental figures). Participants completed a q-sort about current identity, a q-sort about possible selves, an interview addressing goal-directed behaviors and parental support, and a time-sort assessing weekly time-use. Results indicated that there was variation in adolescent action-taking. Examination of action-taking and the factors expected to be related to it revealed that more complex and diverse goal-directed behaviors were associated with informational identity style (i.e., high exploration and high commitment to identity issues) and maternal support. Particular time-use activities also were associated with identity style and possible selves. Finally, there were differences in the identity style and parental support of high and low action-takers. High action-takers reported a strong use of the informational identity style, specific possible selves goals, and more detailed parental support. Low action-takers, however, showed weak associations with informational identity style, and described vague possible selves and parental support. Findings add to the literature on action-taking, identity formation, and parental support.