Furthermore, commitment-making particularly identification with commitment was associated with high self-esteem, high academic and social adjustment, as well as with low depressive symptoms. Emotional stability was strongly associated with commitment and negatively with in-depth exploration. In terms of psychosocial functioning, achievements were significantly higher than carefree diffusions on a measure of self-esteem; diffusions, in turn, were significantly lower than all other identity statuses on this variable.
On a measure of internal locus of control, achievements and moratoriums were significantly higher and carefree diffusions significantly lower than all other identity statuses. On psychological well-being, identity achievements scored significantly higher and carefree diffusions significantly lower than all other identity status groups. For general anxiety, moratoriums and the two diffusion groups scored significantly higher than achievement and foreclosure groups, while the moratoriums scored significantly higher than foreclosures and the two diffusions groups on depression.
Further behavioral studies in relation to the identity statuses have consistently found the identity diffusion status to be related to psychosocial problem behaviors. By contrast, the identity achieved have demonstrated a low prevalence of all preceding problem behaviors, coupled with high levels of agency or self-direction and commitment making e.
Moratoriums have also scored relatively high on levels of social and physical aggression, although they have also scored high on a number of psychosocial measures of well-being e. While a number of relational issues have been explored in identity status research e. S ecurely attached individuals are at ease in becoming close to others and do not worry about being abandoned or having someone become too close to them.
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Furthermore, they are interdependent—comfortable depending on others and having others depend on them. Those using the avoidant attachment style find it difficult to trust and depend on others and are uncomfortable in becoming too emotionally close. A total of 2, participants were involved in this investigation. Cohen, , regarded a correlation of. Among categorical assessments of identity status and attachment style, results suggest there are real differences between the identity achieved and foreclosed as well as diffusion identity statuses, with the identity achieved far more likely to be securely attached than foreclosed or diffusion statuses.
Intimacy should set the foundation for resolution to the task of Intimacy vs. Isolation during late adolescence and young adulthood. Erikson believed that genuine intimacy requires a sense of identity to be firmly in place, or the relationship becomes merely a tool to help resolve identity concerns for each partner. However, Erikson was unclear about the potential for gender differences in his theory, and a number of feminist writers e. Literature examining the relationship between identity and intimacy statuses for late adolescent and young adult men and women has often produced conflicting results.
Some 21 studies with a total of 1, participants were included in meta-analyses here. All results were significant and indicate that high identity status individuals achievement and moratorium scored higher on scale measures of intimacy than low identity status individuals foreclosures and diffusions. For categorical assessments of identity and intimacy, the picture was somewhat more complex. Among men, the mean odds ratio of having both a high identity and high intimacy status was very high at Thus, the low identity status women were almost equally distributed over high and low intimacy status groups.
Erikson , had proposed that while making initial identity resolutions was a key developmental task of adolescence, identity remained malleable, open to further changes throughout adult life. Similarly, the identity status literature that has pointed to different patterns of movement during young, middle, and late adolescence clearly shows that identity will continue to meet challenges and, for some, the need for revision throughout adulthood.
What are the most prevalent patterns of identity status change over the course of adolescent and adult life, and what are the key events primarily associated with these changes? A number of studies addressing identity status changes over time have now been undertaken, and a series of meta-analytic investigations are perhaps the most effective means of summarizing common patterns of movement and stability in the identity status literature.
Kroger, Martinussen, and Marcia investigated some 72 of identity studies that contained developmental information from the larger database of English-language identity status studies described earlier. Movement patterns were investigated in several ways. When movements over approximately three years of late adolescence and young adulthood were examined longitudinally from data that assessed identity status in categorical terms, the mean proportion of adolescents making progressive identity status changes D—F, D—M, D—A, F—M, F—A, and M—A was.
It is interesting that the mean proportion of those remaining stable in identity status was so high, especially during the time of late adolescence that Erikson has identified as central to the identity formation process. As anticipated, the highest mean proportions of progressive movements were from M—A. The highest mean proportions of those remaining stable were the committed identity achieved. The highest mean proportions of those making regressive movements were from A—F. For cross-sectional studies assessing identity status in categorical terms, the mean proportion of identity achievements increased steadily through the high school years, dropped upon university entry and increased to.
It was not until the 30—36 year age group that about half of the participants were rated identity achieved. The mean proportion of moratoriums rose fairly steadily to age 19 years, which peaked at. The mean proportion of foreclosures dropped fairly steadily to a low at age 19 years of. The mean proportion of diffusions declined fairly steadily from age 14—20 years of age from. For cross-sectional studies using continuous measures of identity status, it was anticipated that achievement and moratorium scores would increase across age groups and foreclosure and diffusion scores would decrease over time.
Studies here were based on data for early and mid-adolescents. The anticipated patterns were found, but all effect sizes were small. It may be that more pronounced identity status changes occur during and beyond late adolescence. Additional studies of identity status change through middle and later adulthood years not included in meta-analyses have also generally found slow, progressive identity status movements over time.
Fadjukoff, Pulkkinen, and Kokko analyzed identity status longitudinally in a Finnish sample of men and women drawn from the general population. Identity status was assessed at ages 27, 36, 42, and 50 years. Movement towards identity achievement was predominant on the overall measure of identity status, with women typically reaching identity achievement earlier than men. In a narrative analysis of identity pathways among women assessed from late adolescence through mid-life, Josselson found a diversity of identity pathways, with achievement and foreclosure pathways tending to be the most stable over time.
Half of participants were coded in the same identity status at Times 1 and 2, while half who changed did so in a progressive direction. Additional identity processes of how people approach life-changing situations, the extent to which they continue to engage in meaning-making, and how they continue to develop their personal life directions were explored through narrative methods among foreclosed and achieved participants.
Identity achievement was associated with continued identity development over time, while patterns for ongoing development among foreclosures were more mixed. McLean and Pasupathi have made a plea for the use of narrative methods that examine reconstructions of past events to supplement current understandings of the exploration and commitment processes involved on ongoing identity development throughout the life span. Additional identity processes may usefully be identified through such means. An issue that researchers have been exploring over several decades is the question of what kinds of circumstances are associated with identity status change and, conversely, what circumstances are linked with identity status stability.
Some hints have appeared in related literatures. It may be that such life challenges are important to ongoing identity development over time as well. Anthis suggests investigating how optimal levels of perceived conflict interact with other factors for different cohorts of people in exploring the role that life events may play in ongoing identity development during adulthood.
Additionally, Kunnen , asks if conflict may be the driver of identity change. In a study of freshman university students, she found that students who experienced a conflict in their career goals increased identity exploratory activity and also manifested a decrease in the strength of their present commitments.
Furthermore, those experiencing conflict perceived more change in their commitments as compared to nonconflicted students. The types and levels of perceived identity conflict and the mechanisms by which conflict may stimulate or impair ongoing identity development are in need of further study. Research into ongoing identity development during adulthood has taken several forms. Some researchers have attempted to understand the relationship between resolution to identity issues during late adolescence or young adulthood and the Eriksonian psychosocial tasks of adulthood: Isolation young adulthood , Generativity vs.
Stagnation middle adulthood , and Integrity vs.
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Others have attempted to examine selected issues of identity during these specific adult life phases and whether or not identity cohesion and stability increase with age over the course of adulthood. The following brief overview presents some selected findings from these strands of identity research during various phases of adult life.
Research to date has generally supported this proposal, with some caveats for the relationship between identity and intimacy, described in meta-analytic studies in a preceding section. The relationships among identity, generativity, and integrity have only recently become a focus of research attention, and they present important opportunities for future investigations.
Isolation, and Generativity vs. Stagnation in samples of young and midlife adults. They found that the informational style associated with identity achievement was linked with both the capacity for intimacy and generativity, while the diffuse—avoidant style associated with identity diffusion was negatively linked with both intimacy and generativity.
The normative identity style associated with the foreclosure identity status also positively predicted resolution to intimacy and generativity tasks of adulthood. Pulkkinen, Lyyra, Fadjukoff, and Kokko obtained longitudinal data from Finnish adults at ages 27, 36, 42, and 50 years on measures including parental identity, general identity, generativity, and integrity. Generativity scores as well as scores for psychological and social well-being were highest if parental identity was achieved by age On a cross-sectional basis, Hearn, Saulnier, Strayer, Glenham, Koopman, and Marcia examined the relationship between identity status and a measure of integrity status.
Hannah, Domino, Figueredo, and Hendrickson explored predictors of Integrity vs. Despair in a sample of later life adults, finding the most predictive and parsimonious variables to be trust, autonomy, identity, and intimacy, with no meaningful gender differences. While Erikson , had postulated the ongoing nature of identity development throughout adulthood, and Stephen, Fraser, and Marcia had first proposed the likelihood of ongoing moratorium—achievement—moratorium—achievement cycles in adult identity development, there have been relatively few efforts to examine the nature of change and continuity in identity development over the course of adulthood.
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A sense of coherence and life satisfaction in later adult years has been fully mediated by resolution to Integrity vs. Much remains to be learned about ongoing identity development in the adulthood years, and the relation of identity to subsequent psychosocial tasks and additional personality variables.
Through the decades since Marcia developed his identity status model, there has been considerable discussion in the literature about what the identity statuses actually mean and how best to assess them. However, after an initial identity has formed, further use of the identity status model during adult life begs the question of what the identity statuses actually mean when applied to adults. While new identity-defining decisions may occur in adult life, is there an actual underlying structural change of identity? There may or may not be. There may actually be new or additional structures of ego organization that underlie the identity achievement status of adulthood, and future research could fruitfully explore this issue.
Lile , considers structural identity boundaries for each of the identity statuses and offers some empirical support for a structural model of identity that underlies the identity statuses.
Identity status research in adulthood should carefully consider the meaning that the identity statuses may hold when applied to a life phase beyond that for which they were originally developed. Historically, the task of identity formation is a relatively recent phenomenon. Erikson , first used the identity concept in his clinical writings to describe that entity that seemed to be lacking in the lives of young men returning from combat in World War II. This article has reviewed some of the writings and research that have sprung from the identity status model of James Marcia , The review has also documented the role that resolution to questions of identity plays in resolutions to ongoing psychosocial tasks of adulthood.
Further identity research could fruitfully explore both the meaning of the identity statuses in ongoing adult identity development as well as the processes and contents of identity changes during adult life. The role of regression in adolescent and adult identity development is poorly understand, occurring more frequently than can be predicted by chance alone see Kroger et al.
Understanding what kinds of regression there may be and whether or not specific types of regression are vital to ongoing adult identity development are important avenues for further identity research. And though identity concerns of adolescence have many parallels to identity issues of later adulthood, very little identity-related theory and research has been undertaken with older adults.
It is hoped that this article will present a foundation upon which future psychosocial research into the process and contents of identity development from adolescence through adulthood can take place.
An International Journal of Theory and Research, 14 , — How close are we to developing a social science of identity? An International Journal of Theory and Research, 6 , 3— The life cycle completed. On refinding the people. Origins, meanings, and interpretations.
Processes of personal identity formation and evaluation. Life transitions and stress in the context of psychosocial development. From industry to integrity. Objective measure of ego identity status: The objective measure of ego identity status: A manual on theory and test construction. On the calamity theory of growth: The relationship between stressful life events and changes in identity over time.
An International Journal of Theory and Research, 2 , — The role of conflict in continuity and change: In contrast, adolescents now begin to use more abstract characteristics to describe themselves such as their loyalty, kindness, and humor. A number of theories have been proposed that describe the process by which a self-identity is formed. We will review two such theories and then discuss the way in which self-identity influences the development of a personal value system.
For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the MentalHelp. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. With that in mind, would you like to learn about some of the best options for treatment in the country? Introduction To Child Development Theory: School-aged children talk about their feelings "I love my dog" and how they fit into their social world "I'm the best fielder on my team".
During Erikson's stage of initiative versus guilt children explore their skills, abilities, and attitudes and incorporate the information into their view of self. The physical, cognitive, and social changes of adolescence allow the teenager to develop the identity that will serve as a basis for their adult lives. During Erikson's stage of identity versus role confusion, adolescents' description of self expands to include personality traits "I'm outgoing" and attitudes "I don't like stuck-up people".
The emergence of abstract reasoning abilities allows adolescents to think about the future and experiment with different identities. James Marcia hypothesized that identity development involves two steps. First, the adolescent must break away from childhood beliefs to explore alternatives for identity in a particular area.
Second, the adolescent makes a commitment as to their individual identity in that area. Marcia identified four "Identity Statuses" to describe the process of identity development. Some aspects of identity, especially among young adolescents, may be foreclosed. The foreclosure status is when a commitment is made without exploring alternatives. Often these commitments are based on parental ideas and beliefs that are accepted without question.
However, adolescents often begin to question their ideas and beliefs and enter what Marcia called a "moratorium. This may be reflected in attending different churches, changing college majors, or trying out different social roles. Such exploration may be followed byidentity achievement. Identity achievement occurs when the adolescent has explored and committed to important aspects of their identity. Although adolescents explore multiple aspects of their identities, commitments to occupational, religious, or ethnic identity may occur at different times.
Some adolescents become overwhelmed by the task of identity development and neither explore nor make commitments. This describes Marcia's diffusion status, in which adolescents may become socially isolated and withdrawn. Supportive parents, schools, and communities that encourage exploration in communities and schools foster identity achievement. Identity achievement is important because it is associated with higher self-esteem, increased critical thinking, and advanced moral reasoning. The physical changes associated with puberty initiate adolescents' exploration of their physical and sexual identity.
For females, an important component of their identity and worth is related to their physical appearance. The changes in the male body may not be as important as their timing. Early maturing males have advantages in athletics, hold more leadership roles in school, and are viewed more positively by peers and adults.
The effects of timing for females are not as clear and may be less important in their development. The exploration of a sexual identity occurs within the context of the "presumption of heterosexuality" Herdt that exists in American culture. Heterosexual adolescents spend little or no time considering their sexual identity as anything but heterosexual.
However, the same is not true for homosexual adolescents. In American culture the homosexual is often degraded and stigmatized. This cultural context makes forming a sexual identity for the homosexual adolescent more challenging than for the heterosexual adolescent. Following the pattern of identity development in general, homosexual adolescents may experience a period of confusion and exploration before accepting and committing to their homosexual identity.
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