Samuel McKay, Lyda Lannegrand-Willems, Jason Skues, Lisa Wise

Emerging adult identity development during sojourn experiences: Theoretical suggestions and new research opportunities

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Identity; Sojourn; Emerging Adults; Individual Identity; Theoretical Models.

Sojourn experiences (temporary periods of time travelling, studying and working in other countries) are increasingly common experiences for emerging adults that can provide significant development opportunities. In this article, we contend that identity development - a central task of emerging adulthood that has received little attention in research on sojourners - is at the heart of the development for emerging adult sojourners. We overview the theories and findings from the sojourn and identity literatures before presenting an integrated theoretical model drawing upon the status and process, resource and narrative models of identity. We argue that the model can assimilate current findings and explanations for sojourner outcomes to better account for the underlying processes of development during sojourn. In the final section, we show how tools and theories from identity can address several limitations in the sojourn field before discussing the opportunities sojourner populations present to tackle current questions in the identity and emerging adulthood literatures.

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