Gender as moderator in the relationship between identity formation and the evaluation of romantic relationships during adolescence
Adolescence is a dynamic period during which identity formation occurs and romantic relationships emerge. Research studies often focus on self-evaluation, the development of romantic relationships, and the identity-intimacy link, but rarely focus on the evaluation of romantic relationships during adolescence. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether a significant amount of variance in identity formation can be explained by the evaluation of romantic relationships, and whether gender plays a moderating role in the relationship between the evaluation of romantic relationships and identity formation. The present research was conducted using a quantitative, non-experimental approach, with a correlational research design. A sample of 169 participants was selected from a high school in the Mangaung area, Bloemfontein, by means of non-probability, convenience sampling. Self-report questionnaires, including a biographic questionnaire, the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire (EIPQ), and the Romantic Evaluation Scale (RES) were used to collect data for the research. Data were analysed by means of regression analyses. With regard to the amount of variance in identity formation that can be explained by the evaluation of romantic relationships, it was found that 30% of the variance in identity formation could be explained by the evaluation of romantic relationships. Individually, the objectively motivated dimension made the only significant contribution and explained 20.1% of the variance in identity formation. It was also concluded that, in the present study, gender did not play a significant moderating role in the relationship between the evaluation of romantic relationships and identity formation. Therefore, it can be concluded that, in the present sample, evaluation of romantic relationships influenced identity formation, but gender had no effect on this relationship.
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