Searching For Identity Essay

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Identity Status Theory (Marcia) Summary: Refining and extending Erik Erikson’s work, James Marcia came up with four Identity Statuses of psychological identity development. The main idea is that one’s sense of identity is determined largely by the choices and commitments made regarding certain personal and social traits. Originators: James Marcia, Canadian developmental psychologist and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University. Key terms: identity status, diffusion, foreclosure, moratorium, achievement. Marcia’s Identity Statuses Based on Erik Erikson’s groundbreaking work on identity and psychosocial development in the 1960s, Canadian developmental psychologist James Marcia refined and extended Erikson’s model, primarily focusing on adolescent development. Addressing Erikson’s notion of identity crisis, Marcia posited that the adolescent stage consists neither of identity resolution nor identity confusion, but rather the degree to which one has explored and committed to an identity in a variety of life domains from vocation, religion, relational choices, gender roles, and so on. Marcia’s theory of identity achievement argues that two distinct parts form an adolescent’s identity: crisis (i. e. a time when one’s values and choices are being reevaluated) and commitment. He defined a crisis as a time of upheaval where old values or choices are being reexamined. The end outcome of a crisis leads to a commitment made to a certain role or value. Upon developing a semi-structured interview for identity research, Marcia proposed Identity Status of psychological identity development: Identity Diffusion – the status in which the adolescent does no have a sense of having choices; he or she has not yet made (nor is attempting/willing to make) a commitment Identity Foreclosure – the status in which the adolescent seems willing to commit to

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