Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award

Spring 5-2017



Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Richard Beck

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Stephen Allison

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Scott Perkins


Ruminative exploration is considered a maladaptive dimension of identity development that appears to be at its highest during emerging adulthood (Luyckx, Klimstra, Duriez, Petergem, & Beyers, 2013a). Previous studies have assessed the relationship between ruminative exploration and well-being in populations in Dutch speaking populations of university students in Belgium (Luyckx, Gossens, & Soenens, 2006a; Luyckx, Gossens, Soenens, & Beyers, 2006b; Luyckx et al., 2007a; Luyckx et al., 2008; Luyckx et al., 2013a). Following the Dutch research, it was predicted that ruminative exploration will be positively correlated with symptoms of depression and low self-esteem among US college students. Beyond replicating the associations between ruminative exploration and well-being, the study seeks to examine potential familial correlates of ruminative exploration by assessing the relationship between ruminative exploration and parental support. Previous studies have shown autonomy supportive parenting encourages better overall well-being and identity development (Soenens et al., 2007). This leads to the second hypothesis that ruminative exploration will be negatively related to parental autonomy support. Participants were 268 students at Abilene Christian University who completed demographic questions and four measures to assess ruminative exploration, depression, self-esteem, and parental autonomy support. The measures were distributed via an online survey system. Results of correlational analyses showed that ruminative exploration was associated with higher depression and lower self-esteem, which is consistent with the first hypothesis. Correlational analyses also demonstrated that only autonomy support from the mother showed a relationship with ruminative exploration. Maternal and paternal autonomy support were correlated to decreased symptoms of depression and increased self-esteem.

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