Identity and intimacy: A longitudinal qualitative study of young Australians

Jacqueline Laughland-Booy, Zlatko Skrbis, Peter Newcombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-751
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • early/emerging adulthood
  • young people
  • identity
  • identity issues
  • intimacy
  • qualitative longitudinal research
  • romantic relationship formation
  • Oceania
  • Australia

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