Publications by authors named "Steven L Berman"

11 Publications

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Trauma and identity: A reciprocal relationship?

J Adolesc 2020 02 6;79:275-278. Epub 2020 Feb 6.

Cornell University, USA.

Trauma can alter the course of identity development and destabilize existing identity commitments. Trauma, whether past or current, can also impact the resources a person brings to identity work. However, identity can also be a lens through which trauma is perceived and interpreted, helping to determine whether a traumatic experience results in posttraumatic stress disorder or posttraumatic growth. Despite the apparent implications each construct has for the other, the scholarship at the intersection of trauma and identity remains sparse. This Special Issue explores how and when trauma and identity influence one another by considering their association across various adolescent populations, methodologies, traumatic event types, and facets of identity. In doing so, this Special Issue lays the groundwork necessary for exploring, proposing, and testing more complex and nuanced reciprocal relations models between identity and trauma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2020.01.018DOI Listing
February 2020

Acculturation, identity distress, and internalizing symptoms among resettled adolescent refugees.

J Adolesc 2019 10 31;76:129-138. Epub 2019 Aug 31.

University of Central Florida, Psychology Department, United States. Electronic address:

Introduction: This study examines the relations among native and host country acculturation, identity distress, and internalizing symptoms among multicultural adolescent refugees (N = 33) resettled to the United States from a range of countries including Cuba, Iraq, Jordan, Haiti, Colombia, and Venezuela. Despite previous research supporting the advantages of developing a bicultural style to acculturation, mixed results have been found regarding native and host country acculturation patterns among resettled refugees and how these patterns may be associated with refugee mental health outcomes.

Methods: The objective of this study was not only to consider the roles that US and native acculturation may play on the self-report of identity distress and internalizing symptoms among refugee adolescents more broadly, but also to consider the role various dimensions of acculturation (e.g., cultural identity, language competence, and cultural competence) may play for refugee adolescents post-resettlement.

Results And Conclusions: The study findings indicate that native acculturation, and more specifically native cultural identity, may serve as significant protective factors against identity distress among adolescent refugees post-resettlement, with native cultural identity additionally serving as a protective factor against internalizing symptoms. US acculturation was not found to be significantly associated with identity distress or internalizing symptoms, nor were the acculturative dimensions of language learning (i.e., English and native language competencies), cultural knowledge (i.e., US and native cultural knowledge competencies), or US cultural identity. Recommendations and implications for practice and future research are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2019.07.016DOI Listing
October 2019

Existential Anxiety Among Adolescents Exposed to Disaster: Linkages Among Level of Exposure, PTSD, and Depression Symptoms.

J Trauma Stress 2016 10 31;29(5):466-473. Epub 2016 Aug 31.

Department of Psychology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA.

Exposure to natural disasters can be highly traumatic and have a detrimental effect on youth mental health by threatening the satisfaction of basic human needs and goals. Recent research in adults suggests that exposure to disasters may exacerbate existential anxiety about the meaning of life. The current study expands this investigation to adolescents, who may be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of disaster. Data came from 325 adolescents (mean age = 15.05 years, SD = 1.05) residing in the Greater New Orleans area who were exposed to Hurricanes Katrina and/or Gustav. Existential anxiety concerns were highly prevalent in the sample and were associated with elevated levels of posttraumatic stress disorder (R = .09) and depression symptoms (R = .13). Consistent with theoretical predictions, disaster exposure levels moderated the association between facets of existential anxiety and mental health symptoms. Findings highlight the salience of existential concerns in disaster exposed youth, and provide evidence that exposure to traumatic stress may strengthen their association with mental health problems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jts.22128DOI Listing
October 2016

Identity Distress among Youth Exposed to Natural Disasters: Associations with Level of Exposure, Posttraumatic Stress, and Internalizing Problems.

Identity (Mahwah, N J) 2014 Oct;14(4):255-267

University of New Orleans.

Identity distress involves intense or prolonged upset or worry about personal identity issues including long-term goals, career choice, friendships, sexual orientation and behavior, religion, values and beliefs, and group loyalties. Research suggests that trauma exposure and subsequent PTSD symptoms may negatively impact identity development and psychological adjustment. However, little is known about their specific associations with identity distress and internalizing problems among disaster-exposed adolescents. The purpose of this study was to examine these relationships in a sample of 325 adolescents (60% female; 89% African American) who experienced a major natural disaster and its aftermath. The results indicated that identity distress was positively associated with age, hurricane exposure, PTSD symptoms, and internalizing problems. Linear regression analyses also showed that identity distress was uniquely associated with internalizing symptoms and that there was an indirect effect of hurricane exposure on identity distress via PTSD symptoms. Finally, PTSD symptoms moderated the link between identity distress and internalizing symptoms, with a significant positive slope found for youth with more PTSD symptoms. Findings were generally consistent with previous work and predictions, and add to the extant knowledge about identity distress by providing data on the linkages between disaster exposure, posttraumatic stress and internalizing problems in adolescents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15283488.2014.944697DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4259096PMC
October 2014

Adolescent identity development and distress in a clinical sample.

J Clin Psychol 2013 Dec 24;69(12):1299-304. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

University of Central Florida.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships of identity development and identity distress to psychological adjustment within adolescents affected by psychological problems.

Method: Participants included 88 adolescents (43.2% female) ranging from 11 to 20 years of age who were receiving services from a community mental health center.

Results: A high proportion of the participants (22.7%) met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition Text Revision criteria for Identity Problem. Regression analyses found psychopathology symptom score was associated with identity distress, identity exploration, and identity commitment, while identity distress was only related to psychopathology symptom score and not the other two identity variables.

Conclusions: Adolescents with a clinical diagnosis may report significant levels of identity distress. Given that the relationship between psychopathology and identity distress may be reciprocal, assessing for identity issues might be prudent when conducting clinical diagnostic interviews and useful in treatment planning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22004DOI Listing
December 2013

Globalization and identity development: a Chinese perspective.

New Dir Child Adolesc Dev 2012 ;2012(138):103-21

Counseling Psychology Program, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY, USA.

This chapter begins with a discussion of the unique experience of adolescents and emerging adults who grew up with globalization in China and how it has affected their sense of self. We then discuss the effects of globalization on identity development in general, with a special focus on the sociohistorical context of China. We also review and critique the psychological literature that has been conducted on identity within Chinese and Chinese American populations. Finally, we discuss the applicability of Western concepts of identity on a culture that does not necessarily share the same value structure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cad.20024DOI Listing
May 2013

The relationships among caregiver and adolescent identity status, identity distress and psychological adjustment.

J Adolesc 2012 Oct 8;35(5):1203-13. Epub 2012 May 8.

Arizona State University, USA.

The present study addresses the relationships of caregiver identity status on their adolescent children's identity distress and psychological symptom severity among a sample of adolescents (age 12-19) in treatment at a community mental health center (N = 60 caregiver-child dyads). A significant proportion of caregivers (10%) and their adolescent children (21.7%) met DSM-IV criteria for Identity Problem. Caregiver identity commitment, significantly predicted adolescent identity distress over and above the adolescents' identity variables, while caregiver identity exploration significantly predicted adolescent psychological symptom severity. These findings and implications are discussed in further detail.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.04.001DOI Listing
October 2012

The prevalence and incremental validity of identity problem symptoms in a high school sample.

Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 2009 Jun 11;40(2):183-95. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida, Daytona Beach, 32114, USA.

This paper examines the expression, prevalence, and incremental validity of identity problem symptoms in adolescence. A sample of high school students (N = 140) aged 15-18 completed measures of identity problem symptoms, identity status, and psychological symptom severity. Findings suggested that 14.3% would meet DSM IV criteria for identity problem. Identity problem symptoms predicted psychological symptom scores beyond identity status, and identity status accounted for substantially less variance in psychological symptom severity when controlling for identity problem symptoms. Additional research on the relationship between identity problems and psychological adjustment is needed and greater attention to the role of identity issues in clinical practice is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10578-008-0117-6DOI Listing
June 2009

Identity status measurement across contexts: variations in measurement structure and mean levels among White American, Hispanic American, and Swedish emerging adults.

J Pers Assess 2006 Feb;86(1):61-76

Center for Family Studies, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami, FL 33136, USA.

We conducted this study to examine measurement equivalence and mean differences in identity status across 3 ethnic/cultural contexts: White American, Hispanic American, and Swedish. We used the Extended Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status II (EOM-EIS-II; Bennion & Adams, 1986), a commonly used instrument in the identity status literature. We conducted analyses to ascertain the extent to which the EOM-EIS-II functioned equivalently in 3 ethnically/culturally different samples. The internal structure of the measure was consistent across contexts. When we statistically controlled effects of age and gender, mean differences tended to be largely cross-cultural at the observed level of analysis but to be both cross-ethnic and cross-cultural at the latent level of analysis. This divergence in findings was found despite the limited age range represented in each of the samples. We therefore concluded that measurement error may have played a role in these differences and that data gathered using the EOM-EIS-II should be analyzed using latent variable methods. We discuss results in terms of using the EOM-EIS-II with diverse populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15327752jpa8601_08DOI Listing
February 2006

The relation between identity status and romantic attachment style in middle and late adolescence.

J Adolesc 2006 Oct 28;29(5):737-48. Epub 2005 Dec 28.

Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114, USA.

This study examined the linkages between identity formation and romantic attachment in an ethnically diverse sample of high school (n=189) and college students (n=324). Individuals in the foreclosed identity status group had significantly lower relationship avoidance scores than the diffused identity status group, and the foreclosed group had significantly lower relationship anxiety scores than both the achieved identity and moratorium groups. Identity status and romantic attachment style were significantly related among the college sample, but not among the high school sample. Some ethnic differences in attachment style were noted. Developmental implications are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2005.11.004DOI Listing
October 2006

A cross-sectional evaluation of the factorial invariance of anxiety sensitivity in adolescents and young adults.

Behav Res Ther 2005 Jun;43(6):799-810

Department of Psychology, University of New Orleans, LA 70148, USA.

This study examined the cross-sectional factorial invariance of anxiety sensitivity in an ethnically diverse sample of adolescents (n = 173; mean age 15.5 years) and young adults (n = 291; mean age 20.1 years). Research in adult and youth samples suggests that anxiety sensitivity is best understood as a hierarchical construct with several lower-order factors. Factor models based on previous research using both adult and youth samples were compared and a hierarchical model with three lower-order factors provided the best fit to the data. Results supported the hypothesis that the factor structure of the Anxiety Sensitivity Index was invariant across age and gender. The factor scores also demonstrated differential correlations with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Results are discussed with regard to construct validation and understanding the structure of anxiety sensitivity in youth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2004.06.008DOI Listing
June 2005