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5.3.2: Developing Identity

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  • Developing Identity

    Erik Erikson coined the term “identity crisis”(identity vs. confusion). According to Erikson, gaining an identity by answering the questions “Who am I?” and “Where Am I Going?” is the most important challenge of adolescence.

    Marcia’s Identity Statuses: James Marcia theorized that a sense of commitment to life goals and values and a sense of crisis (actively questioning and exploring options) are essential to developing an identity. These statuses not stages per se, but phases/orientations that adolescents may experience as maturity develops”

    Identity Diffusion

    • “Rudderless apathy”;

    • Avoiding setting a life course

    • Evading identity

    • Social and psychological problems

    Identity Foreclosure

    • Premature commitment to identity (parents’ choice?)

    • Another way to avoid the struggle for identity

    • Associated with attachment-related anxieties, conformity, and unwilling to have new experiences

    Identity Moratorium

    • Delaying commitment to experiment

    • If extended associated with self-doubt and confusion

    Identity Achievement

    • Arriving at a sense of self

    • Choosing a direction after consideration of alternatives

    • Commitments strong, but not set in stone

    • Associated with higher self-esteem, security, achievement, motivation, intimacy, conscientiousness

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