E-mail  Wim Beyers
Phone 09 264 64 20
Fax 09 264 64 99 
Room number 150.043
Category Tenured academic staff
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Separation, Identity and Intimacy during Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: Prospective Testing of Epigenetic Hypotheses Separation-individuation theory (Blos, 1967) and Erikson’s (1968) lifespan developmental theory claim that the developmental tasks of separation, identity and intimacy follow each other in a sequential order during adolescence and emerging adulthood. Using new conceptualizations and longitudinal research with adolescents aged 15 to 22 years, Stijn Van Petegem prospectively tests the central hypotheses (phasing and conditionality) of this epigenetic principle.

Home-Leaving and Separation-Individuation Processes in Emerging Adulthood
In this research project Evie Kins (PhD student) is comparing a sample of emerging adults that are still living together with their parents to a matched group of emerging adults living on their own. The focus is on separation-individuation processes that guide home-leaving in this age group.

Do Collectivists Need Autonomy Too? An Investigation about Autonomy and Independence in a Cross-Cultural Context In this research project, PhD student Beiwen Chen is comparing Chinese and Belgian adolescents with respect to their autonomy (self-determination) and independence from parents. Special interest goes to the interaction between autonomy and independence, and the prediction of general well-being. In later phases, other countries and cultures will be included in the project.

Adolescents' Sexual Behavior: From Bad to Worse? The perception of sexual behavior during adolescence is not at all positive in our society. Often, sexual behavior during adolescence is considered an important aspect of problem behavior. In this project, we want to present a nuanced picture on youth's sex, through several cross-sectional and short-term longitudinal studies on sexual behavior, motivations for sex, sexual attitudes and a number of determinants and possible outcomes. Ultimately, we will follow 14 to 17 year olds four years in a longitudinal study, to distinguish various trajectories of psychosexual development, for example adolescents with a gradual versus very early versus non-stepwise sexual development. These trajectories are related to determinants (pubertal timing, relationships with parents and peers, motivations), correlates (relational and identity development), and consequences (self-esteem, externalizing) of variations in sexual development.

Parenting Explained: Mediating Variables in the Relationship Between Parenting Styles and Identity Formation in Late Adolescence In this research project we study the parenting as a source of successful individuation and identity formation in late adolescence. A mediator-model is examined, with mediators ranging from microlevel descriptors of the parent-late adolescent relationship (e.g., reciprocity) to aspects of late adolescents' personality. For this project I'm working together with my former colleagues at the Center for Developmental Psychology at the Catholic University of Leuven.

Family Environment, Attachment and Coping During Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood In this project, I'm working together with Dr. Inge Seiffge-Krenke from the Dept. of Developmental and Educational Psychology at the Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz (Germany). Using longitudinal data from  228 adolescents and their parents, measured when these adolescents were 14, 15, 16, 17, 21 and 24 years, we try to capture individual developmental trajectories of for instance coping, family climate, and parent-adolescent relationships, and see how these are related to outcomes at Age 21 and 24. These measures in emerging adulthood include, among other things, the attachment state of mind (AAI), identity, and intimacy. An intruiging dataset...

Ph.D. Thesis: The Detachment Debate: The Separation-Adjustment Link in Adolescence The general theme of this research project, which finally resulted in my PhD, defended in 2001 at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), is the detachment debate. The core question in this debate is whether emotional separation from parents in adolescence serves an adaptive function. The Emotional Autonomy Scale (EAS; Steinberg & Silverberg, 1986) occupies a central place in this discussion. In our approach to this issue, we expanded the age boundaries and the measurement base of the debate. The core question was further approached in three different ways: (1) internal and external validity of the EAS, (2) moderators of the separation-adjustment link, and (3) developmental trajectories of separation from parents and adjustment. The full text of my Ph.D. thesis can be obtained by sending me a mail.

If interested: My academic genealogy!







See complete publication list in following databases, full-text inclusive:


Recent conference


      • Luyckx, K., Goossens, L., Duriez, B., Klimstra, T., Van Petegem, S., & Beyers, W. (2012, July). Identity processes and self-esteem in high school and college students: Temporal sequences within a developmental-contextual framework. Poster presented at the 22nd biennial meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD), Edmonton, AL, Canada.

      • Schwartz, K. D., Bremner, D., & Beyers, W. (2012, July). Positive youth development: Exploring developmental strengths in three countries. Poster presented at the 22nd biennial meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD), Edmonton, AL, Canada.

      • Chen, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Beyers, W., Duriez, B., & Soenens, B. (2011, June). Beneficial effects of basic psychological needs not moderated by values, desires and financial satisfaction. Poster presented at the 6th Self Biennial International Conference (CSELF), Quebec, Canada.