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In many industrialized countries, the transition into adulthood has become prolonged and complex. The consequence is that the process of identity formation within various life domains is often being delayed. This study applies a qualitative longitudinal research strategy to track the experiences of 28 young Australians as they undergo the process of identity development within the domain of romantic relationship formation. We explore their experiences and the strategies they have employed to negotiate any challenges faced. This study makes two significant contributions to current literature. First, it provides qualitative insight into some challenges contemporary young Australians are facing with respect to identity formation in this life area, and how they are responding to those challenges. Second, it suggests how theoretical understandings of the processes of identity formation, both in this domain and others, might be expanded in order to acknowledge instances when young people might choose to enter an identity development hiatus.


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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