"I have been a member of Dr. Susan Bluck’s Life Story Lab in the Department of Psychology since May 2010. I applied to the University Scholars Program to enhance and broaden my research experience. I look forward to further developing and refining my research ideas and culminating my University Scholars Program experience by presenting at the Undergraduate Research Symposium."
My academic and research interests include the role of life experience on identity formation, aging, autobiographical memory, and development through the lifespan.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Florida Academic Scholars Award (2008-Present)
- Center for Undergraduate Research Student Board
Shands Hospital at the University of Florida.
Hobbies and Interests
- Reading, going to the beach, cooking, traveling, spending time with friends, family and pet.
How Experience with Death Affects Identity Development in Emerging Adulthood
Lifespan developmental theories describe human development as being influenced by both biological and experiential factors (e.g., Baltes, 1987; Bronfenbrenner, 1977). In adulthood, although biological maturation is largely complete, life experiences continue to shape development by influencing the adult’s view of his/herself across the lifespan. View of self is a developmental challenge across adulthood, but this is particularly true during emerging adulthood (Erikson, 1968; Habermas and Bluck, 2000). In this life phase, individuals explore what is possible for them in terms of their identity: they develop views of their optimal self and potential accomplishments (Arnett, 2000). The current research examines how a certain type of life experience, namely experience with death, affects emerging adults’ sense of identity. The study used a standard procedure by which individuals report on their identity through the generation of self-defining autobiographical memories (Blagovand Singer, 2004). Death experience is operationalized at three levels: personal experience losing a close loved one, experience with death through Hospice volunteerism, and minimal experience (i.e., no close personal loss or Hospice volunteer experience). A novel aspect of this research is that the self-defining memory procedure is modified such that core identity is assessed in terms of identity strivings and identity legacy. That is, identity is assessed in terms of self-attributes that emerging adults strive to embody (i.e., identity strivings) and the legacy that they want to leave after death (i.e. identity legacy). The specific aims are to examine how these varying types of experience with death affect (a) identity strivings and (b) identity legacy. This project is currently in progress. Data collection was completed in Spring 2011 and the data are now being content-analyzed based on standard codebooks that were developed from previous literature (e.g., Thorne, McLean and Lawrence, 2004). All coders are trained to reliability (Kappa > .80).