Theo Klimstra

Theo Klimstra

105 College Avenue
Research/Areas of Interest:

Adolescence and young adulthood; identity development; personality development; narrative identity; quantitative methods (including structural equation models)


  • PhD, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands, 2010
  • Doctoraal in Psychology (MSc in Psychology), University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, 2005


I see teaching and mentoring as collaborative efforts between teachers and students. I believe that teaching entails more than transferring knowledge; it also involves making course content relatable to make sure student are able to identify, understand, and apply what they learned. Furthermore, I believe that teaching is about educating the whole person, and should therefore also facilitate student's self-reflection and character development.

My research focuses on personality development and identity formation and their linkages to adjustment, as I'm interested in why people are who they are, how they choose their life paths, and why some flourish and others struggle. I mainly focus on the periods of adolescence and young adulthood, but I am interested in development across the lifespan. In my research, I apply advanced quantitative developmental methods that I supplement with qualitative methods to implement a mixed-method approach. I study individual development in context by accounting for classroom-level effects and examining my constructs of interest in different national contexts (e.g., the U.S. and various European and Asian countries) and different groups in society (e.g., young adult workers, students, non-clinical, and clinical samples).