The spread of identity seems obvious when a person does not strive for identity and does not try to create it. Many people tend to experience a period of decay of identity in childhood or in early adolescence, until eventually they grow out of this period. However, long-term diffusion of identity seems quite possible. James Marcia defined four "status of identity". These status (states) of identity are a continuation of the work of Eric Erickson on the development of the personality of adolescents. The spread of identity and other identity statuses are a continuation of Eric Erickson’s ideas about personality development in adolescence. James Marcia created statuses as a way to empirically test Erickson's theoretical ideas.
Marcia constructed a model in four possible identity configurations that differentiates adolescents by their low or high degree of exploration and commitment. We can therefore consider that this model defines the four major identities of the adolescent. In particular, Marcia’s attention to occupation and ideology stems from Erickson’s assertion that occupation and commitment to certain values (beliefs) are fundamental parts of identity. From the moment when Marcia first proposed the status of the individual, these statuses became the subject of global research, especially with the participation of college students.
The status of the Re identity achievement (achievement or identity) is when the teen has explored different areas of life and is committed through its own choice. This identity achievement characterizes adolescents who are strong and self-confident, able to articulate the reasons for their choice.
In contrast, Diffusion Identities is characterized by a low level of exploration that does not lead to commitments or a production of choice. Teenagers in identity diffusion seem marked by a deep disinterest. They have difficulties to position themselves.
Moratorium identity status is a period of exploration, intense questioning with a quest for commitment. Indeed, the identity moratorium characterizes adolescents considered as being in "identity crisis". The teenager would make very vague commitments. There are also many dilemmas in his speeches. This necessary period is accepted by the adults who consider it normal for the identity construction of the young person.
In contrast, Identity Foreclosure (or inherited identity) is characterized by very strong commitments, affirmed choices that do not result from a period of exploration. These strong commitments leave little room for exploring different alternatives. Teenagers in identity foreclosure have very clear, stereotyped speeches, leaving little room for choice logic. This is known as "abbreviated adolescence" in psychology.
To determine the status of identity, special interviews are used, in the process to-ryh, the information reported by the respondent about previous (or current) crises, professional self-determination and ideological orientation are recorded. Of the four possible variants of the status of identity in Marcia, two indicate the presence of a stable personal identity: “self-defined” (Achievers) and “predetermined” (Foreclosures). These statuses differ in process and developed identities of their owners. The “self-determined” formed their obligations to themselves and others after a period of active decision-making. In contrast, the “predetermined” more passively (without experiencing the crisis) accepted the goals and values prescribed by others, especially those who brought them up. The remaining two identity status options encompass those who have not yet committed themselves. “Uncertain” (Diffusions) lack a solid sense of identity, and at this time they are not experiencing a crisis associated with decision making. “Suspenders” (Moratoriums) are actively involved in professional and ideological issues; they try to find their own answers to these questions, then to make their own choices. (Marcia, 1966).
Diffusion Identity Characteristics
People in a state of spreading identity do not go through a decision-making period and do not make any firm commitments. These people may never have experienced a crisis period exploring opportunities for their future. On the other hand, it is possible the passage of the study period, but without making decisions.
Diffuse identities are passive and live without considering their own current affiliations and desires for the future. As a result, the goal of such individuals is not to experience pain, but to experience pleasure. Diffuse identities, as a rule, lack self-esteem, focus on the external environment, have a lower level of autonomy and have a low personal responsibility for their lives.
Studies on the spread of identity show that these people tend to feel isolated and even tend to leave the world. In one of his studies, James Donovan found that people who spread a personality are suspicious of others and believe that loved ones do not understand them. Such people often resort to the mechanism of overcoming misunderstandings - they retire in their own fantasies.
Some adolescents in the dissemination of identity may resemble obvious loafers or lagging behind in their studies. There is difference between responses of 14- and 16-year adolescence. And also, personality and concept of identity began with indolence. I have noticed the responses of 16 years respondents are more inclined to rely and trust their friends and peers than their family and 14 years old more trust on their families. Adolescents whose identity is common in the field of ideology may demonstrate a similar lack of attention and commitment in the areas of politics, religion, and other worldviews. For example, a teenager approaching election age is often unable to express preferences between candidates from different parties in the upcoming elections and does not consider the political perspective of these candidates.
Marcia notes that “self-determined” and “predetermined” girls are most resistant to group pressure, finding the highest level of field independence and the lowest level of anxiety. However, in terms of authoritarianism, “predetermined” girls turn out to be just as rigid and uncompromising as “predetermined” young men (Cherry, 2018). Cherry expresses doubts about the fact that the model of identity crisis is adequate t. on the optimal development of the female personality. On the contrary, in the presence of stereotypical expectations of responsive, caring and custodial behavior, the acquisition by girls of a stable identity can be of paramount importance, and it does not matter whether it is formed in an active process of self-determination or passively, under the influence of other people.
Cherry, K. (2018). What is an identity crisis? Retrieved on Monday, March 19.
Marcia, J. E. (1966). Development and validation of ego-identity status. Journal of personality
and social psychology, 3(5), 551.
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Self/Identity 16 years. Mc Grew Hill. Retrieve from :
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