Identity and Well-Being of Bulgarian Adolescents and Adults: Summarized Data for the Period 2002- 2018

Aim: Featuring identity and well-being of Bulgarian adolescents and adults and their preferred
adaptation pathways.
Study Design: Comparison of the results from two cross-sectional studies, completed in 2008 and
2018 with 703 Bulgarian volunteers in total, aged 18-60. The focus is the analysis of the adaptive
response to the experienced environment – as stable or unstable, supportive or restrictive.
Results: The general results reveal that there is no change in the distribution of the identity statuses
for a period, lasting more than a decade. Most of the volunteers prefer to postpone their stable
commitments and proceed to attain and reorganize their identity. Furthermore, this is not a result of
inner choice, but mainly adaptive response to the requirements and the restrictions of the context.
Environment, perceived as unstable and preventing strong commitments results in identity choices
postponement as most adaptive person-context transaction. The uncompleted transition period
promotes transitive identity statuses, postponement of stable commitments and continuous
exploration. For adolescence coherent to age development, more adaptive is active exploration,
whereas for adults adaptive is to support previous commitments, as they used to be beneficial in the
Conclusion: When context is perceived as insecure and not supportive, this results in search for new
commitments or identity reorganization and perceived stress. In this sense, the main accent on
individual level is the adaptive feature of the identity statuses and coping strategies and their relations. Support for self-integration through the three steps of identity – self-knowledge, self-acceptance and self-expression – can facilitate identity reorganization. This is related to stress management as well. If person fails to employ enough adaptive strategies of reactive and proactive coping consecutively and coherently, the basic sense of self-authenticity and self-integration is compromised. The main conclusion is that promotion of self-reflection and successful reactive responses can transform into proactive behaviour and become a component of the optimal identity. This overall process can be learnt and implemented as a cognitive, emotional and behavioral mindfulness, based on self-reflection and active coping.

Author (s) Details

Margarita Bakracheva
Sofia University St. Klimеnt Ohridski, Bulgaria.

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