The primary purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between identity development in late adolescent university students and family history knowledge. The relationship was examined within both the individual developmental and family systems theoretical frameworks. It was proposed that identity development involves achieving personal autonomy from the family of origin and at the same time maintaining positive relatedness to the family of origin. Identity development was examined using exploration, commitment, autonomy, and relatedness as dependent variables. It was proposed that late adolescent's personal exploration of and commitment to roles and values may be influenced by knowledge of parent and grandparent histories. It was also proposed that late adolescent's achievement of personal autonomy and positive family relatedness may be influenced by knowledge of parent and grandparent histories. The sample consisted of 239 university students. The Parental Relationship Inventory (PRI) and the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire (EIPQ) measured identity development constructs. The Do You Know? (DYK) scale measured family history knowledge. Multiple regression analyses indicated a significant positive relationship between commitment and family history knowledge and relatedness and family history knowledge, a negative relationship between autonomy and family history knowledge, and a weak correlation between exploration and family history knowledge. Findings indicate family history knowledge may influence components of identity development. This has practical implications for parents and others such as teachers, youth workers, social workers, and youth program designers whose work is directed at enhancing adolescent development.



College and Department

Marriott School of Management; Recreation Management



Date Submitted


Document Type





adolescence, family history knowledge, identity