Volume 10   Number 1     Summer 2017

Temporal Dialogical Activity and Identity Formation during Adolescence

Małgorzata Łysiak & Piotr Oleś
Institute of Psychology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

pp. 1-18

Abstract. The study aims to explore how temporal self-dialogues contribute to identity formation during adolescence. The main hypothesis postulated that identity exploration and commitment are related to construction of integrative temporal dialogues. It was also postulated that integration of temporal I-positions causes positive change in meaning of life and emotions, both measured as states. The group of adolescents included 100 high-school students (M = 17.92, SD = 1.01), who activated various temporal voices using the ‘chair instruction for a temporal dialogue’ procedure. Participants were asked to define one personally important I-position in the past and one in the future, and then to conduct a dialogue between all three positions: past, present and future. The procedure contained the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire, the State Personality Inventory and the Meaning of Life Scale-State. Participants who integrated I-positions related to personal past, present and future (38%) had higher scores in Commitment (as predicted) and in Exploration (contrary to prediction) than participants who did not. In accordance with predictions, the temporal dialogues influenced meaning of life and emotions, measured as states. After the temporal dialogues, scores of the emotional state of curiosity were higher (as postulated) as well as of anxiety (contrary to prediction), while scores of the emotional state of anger were lower (as postulated) than before. Increases in meaning of life and in affective state were significant only for participants who were able to integrate the different temporal voices. The results are discussed with reference to identity formation processes and the role of meta-reflection in the dialogical self.

Keywords: adolescence, dialogical activity, I-position, identity, integration, temporal dialogues