Title

Identity Development in the Gap: Emerging Adults' Experiences in Structured Gap Year Programs

Proposal Focus

Research

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Identity development primarily occurs the most throughout the adolescent and emerging adulthood years (Arnett, 2000), which can be facilitated through gap years. Previous research has shown gap years to be beneficial (Heath, 2007; King, 2010; O’Shea, 2014). However, research has not addressed the personal perspective of gap year alumni on their own identity formation through structured gap year programs. This qualitative, phenomenological study sought to explore the impact of structured gap years on emerging adults’ identity development as well as identify the types of experiences that were effective for personal growth. The study examined the experiences of 15 participants, both gap year alumni and professionals employed by a gap year program. The findings revealed three common themes concerning identity development and four types of experiences that were beneficial for identity formation. Based on the findings and the limitations of the study, the researcher made recommendations for further research.

Keywords

gap year programs, emerging adults, identity development

Location

Yorkshire

Start Date

4-4-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

4-4-2020 9:50 AM

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Apr 4th, 9:00 AM Apr 4th, 9:50 AM

Identity Development in the Gap: Emerging Adults' Experiences in Structured Gap Year Programs

Yorkshire

Identity development primarily occurs the most throughout the adolescent and emerging adulthood years (Arnett, 2000), which can be facilitated through gap years. Previous research has shown gap years to be beneficial (Heath, 2007; King, 2010; O’Shea, 2014). However, research has not addressed the personal perspective of gap year alumni on their own identity formation through structured gap year programs. This qualitative, phenomenological study sought to explore the impact of structured gap years on emerging adults’ identity development as well as identify the types of experiences that were effective for personal growth. The study examined the experiences of 15 participants, both gap year alumni and professionals employed by a gap year program. The findings revealed three common themes concerning identity development and four types of experiences that were beneficial for identity formation. Based on the findings and the limitations of the study, the researcher made recommendations for further research.