Countless people have struggled to form their identity, specifically teens. They try on masks, all seeing if one would be the perfect fit, or maybe something they can work with. This has caught the attention of Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on Psychosocial Development.
And based on Erikson’s work on identity and psychosocial development in the 1960’s, Canadian developmental psychologist James Marcia refined and extended his model, primarily focusing on adolescent development, though this also applies to all ages.
Marcia classifies individuals based on their existence or extendt of their crisis or commitment. Crisis is defined as a period of identity development during which the individual is exploring alternatives. Commitment is a person’s investment in the identity. The four categories are listed below:
- Diffusion – status of individuals who have not yet experienced a crisis or made any commitments, not only are they undecided about occupational and ideological choices, they are likely to show little interest in such manners.
- Foreclosure – status of individuals who have made a commitment but not experienced a crisis. This occurs most often when parents hand down commitments to their adolescents, usually in an authoritarian way, before adolescents have had a chance to explore different approaches, ideologies, and vocations on their own
- Moratorium – status of individuals who are in the midst of a crisis but whose commitments are either absent or are only vaguely defined.
- Achievement status of individuals who have undergone a crisis and made a commitment
Take note that the above statuses are not stages and should not be viewed as processes. You don’t need to finish one to go to the other, at the same time; you don’t need to go through all of this to get to the achievement status.
- Bayod, Ylona Veronica. 2013. Hand outs on Adolescent Psychology: Social and Personality Development. Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines