Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Identity: Two objects are never identical. Identity is a single object, to which may be referred to with two different terms. The fact that two descriptions mean a single object may be discovered only in the course of an investigation.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
Upton I 117
Identity/Marcia/Upton: The search for identity is supported by what Erikson calls a psychosocial moratorium. What he means is that adolescents are relatively free of responsibility, which enables them to have the space to try out (and discard) different identities. (>Identity/Erikson.)
Marcia: Marcia (1987) suggested that this development is a staged process and he identified four different identity statuses.
1) Identity diffusion refers to the individual who has not yet experienced a crisis or made any commitments. They are undecided about future roles and have not shown any interest in such matters.
2) Identity foreclosure describes individuals who have made a commitment to an identity without experiencing a crisis. They may, for example, have simply followed the ideologies and aspirations of their parents.
3) Identity moratorium is the term used to describe individuals experiencing an identity crisis and whose commitments have not yet been strongly defined.
4) Identity achievement is reached once individuals have undergone a crisis and made a commitment to their identity.

According to Marcia (1993)(1), young adolescents are usually described by one of the first three statuses. However, there is increasing evidence that identity development is not solely a task of adolescence. Indeed, some aspects of identity are already well on the way to being established before adolescence. Gender, for example, is one aspect of identity that is a key aspect of development at an early age, but continues to be built on as more complex under standings of what it means to be male or female are negotiated. Likewise, some of the most important changes in identity occur after adolescence, taking place during early adulthood (Waterman, 1992)(2).

1. Marcia, JE (1993) The status of the statuses: research review, in Marcia, JE Waterman, AS Matteson, DR Archer, SL and Orlofsky, JL (eds) Identity: A handbook for psychosociogical research (pp 22-41). New York: Springer-Verlag.
2. Waterman, AS (1992) Identity as an aspect of optimal psychological functioning, in Adams, GR Gullotta, TP and Montemayor, R (eds) Adolescent ldentity Formation (50-72). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Marcia, James
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011

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