KOMPASS - Mobilität und Identität​

Project by Andreas Beelmann, Elisabeth Borschel, Thomas Kessler, Franz J. Neyer, Peter Noack, Klaus Rothermund & Julia Zimmermann​

The Project

Residential mobility - the permanent or temporal, voluntary or forced change of residence - constitutes extensive challenges and opportunities to individual life plans in the 21st century. Mobility experiences may either enrich or challenge individual identities. At the same time, identity may determine whether individuals engage in mobility experiences or not.

The longitudinal KOMPASS study investigated the psychological conditions and consequences of residential mobility in the context of life and job choices of university graduates in young adulthood.

KOMPASS was open to students from all German universities whose degree programs require regular on-campus course attendance. Overall, more than 2000 students took part in the study. Participants were queried four times at six-month intervals including measurement occasions both before and after graduation. With this study design, we were able to thoroughly investigate mobility plans and mobility behavior among young adults over the course of a critical life transition - the entry into the job market or further higher education. Thereby, a main goal of the study was to explore regional identity and its developmental interplay with individual characteristics and social relationships in mobile and non-mobile university graduates. KOMPASS also addressed the relationship between regional belonging and well-being. The research results illustrate the complex interplay between mobility and identiy processes and thus contribute to the psychological understanding of an important phenomenon in nowadays societies.

The project was funded by the Thüringer Ministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur (TMBWK) and several chairs at the Institute of Psychology at FSU Jena were involved.


Borschel, E., Zimmermann, J., Crocetti, E., Meeus, W., Noack, P., & Neyer, F. J. (2019). Me and you in a mobile world: The development of regional identity and personal relationships in young adulthood. Developmental Psychology, 55(5), 1072–1087. doi: 10.1037/dev0000677.External link

Schubach (Borschel), E., Zimmermann, J., Noack, P., & Neyer, F. J. (2017). Short forms of the Utrecht-Management of Identity Commitments Scale (U-MICS) with the domains of job, romantic relationship, and region. Journal of Adolescence, 54, 104-109. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.11.012External link

Schubach (Borschel), E., Zimmermann, J., Noack, P., & Neyer, F. J. (2016). Me, myself, and mobility: The relevance of region for young adults' identity development. European Journal of Personality, 30, 189-200. doi: 10.1002/per.2048External link

Zimmermann, J. & Neyer, F. J. (2017). Entwicklung und Mobilität im jungen Erwachsenenalter. In B. Kracke und P. Noack (Eds.), Handbuch Entwicklungs- und Erziehungspsychologie. Berlin: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-54061-5_21-1External link

Zimmermann, J., Schubach (Borschel), E., Beelmann, A., Kessler, T., Noack, P., Rothermund, K., & Neyer, F. J. (2018). Regional belonging in a mobile world. Manuscript in preparation.