Identity commitments and coping with a difficult developmental transition

Thomas M. Reischl*, Barton J Hirsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This longitudinal study examines the effects of contrasting social identities (social vs. academic) on coping responses and adjustment among 32 college freshmen on academic probation. Multiple adjustment indices (depression, college life satisfaction, and academic performance) are assessed at the start and end of the probation semester. Coping responses were assessed in a midsemester interview. Few between-group differences were found on mean levels of coping responses. However, the association between particular coping responses and adjustment indices differed for academically vs. socially oriented students. The effective coping responses were those that were consonant with social identities. Positive social involvements were more effective for socially oriented students, while positive academic involvements were more effective for the academically oriented. These findings remained significant even after controlling for baseline measures of outcomes. Implications are discussed for understanding social support and coping in the context of lifespan development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-69
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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