Identity Status, Service-Learning, and Future Plans

Lynn E. Pelco, Christopher T. Ball


Marcia’s (1966) identity status paradigm served as the theoretical framework to study the impact of service-learning on clarifying future plans for emerging adults with varying identity statuses. The study participants were 195 undergraduates at a large urban public university in the southeastern United States. The Dimensions of Identity Development Scale (Luyckx, Schwartz, Berzonsky, et al., 2008) was administered at the beginning and end of the semester during which participants completed their service-learning class. The Service-Learning Impact on Future Plan Clarity Questionnaire developed by the authors for this study was administered at the end of the same semester. A two-step cluster analysis resulted in five identity status groups. Students in all five groups indicated that service-learning helped them clarify their future plans. Moratorium identity status group members reported significantly less benefit from service-learning for clarifying future plans. Results are discussed and implications for research and practice are provided.


identity status; service-learning; future plans; emerging adults; tertiary education; cluster analysis

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