DOI: 10.1111/cdep.12504 ISSN: 1750-8592

Educational identity processes in adolescence: An analysis of longitudinal evidence and the role of educational systems

Oana Negru‐Subtirica
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health


Educational identity has been studied increasingly in the past decades since school is a structured context that shapes adolescent identity formation. Across the academic years, adolescents learn to position themselves in terms of their education and schooling, perceiving these entities as more or less relevant for their self‐formation. In this article, I analyze educational identity in the context of personal identity formation in adolescence through longitudinal studies from Japan, the Netherlands, and Romania that used the identity process approach. I also examine the role educational systems play in educational identity trajectories, outlining the limits of personal intentionality when adolescents make educational choices. In addition, I address the relations of educational identity development with two important outcomes of education: academic achievement and vocational development. I conclude that educational identity formation reflects the freedom or coercion that country‐specific educational systems teach adolescents through educational tracking and the timing of educational transitions.

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