Different psychologists have put forward stage theories of development which discuss that people go through many stages in definite orders, with challenges associated to diverse capacities arising from each stage and age. Erik Erikson proposed a theory of psychosocial development that happens in eight different stages over a person’s life p.
He proposed that people face fresh challenges during each stage: generativity vs. self-absorption autonomy vs. shame and doubt: trust vs. mistrust initiative vs. guilt, identity vs. role industry vs. inferiority, confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, and integrity vs. despair.
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As Erik Erikson stated, the identity search marks an imperative step in adolescence. Adolescents may pass through an identity crisis, in which they struggle to comprehend themselves and make decisions on their future. Identity foreclosure occurs when a person hastily obligates to roles or values that others recommend.
Foreclosure status is whereby a person has makes a commitment minus attempting identity examination. The sense of commitment and the quality of this commitment plus the manner in which it’s derived varies. Foreclosure status has so many characteristics. The adolescents in this status tend to assume commitments handed to them by others like their parents.
They are able to put across a commitment but unable to explain how they got to that decision. Here they also tend to take for granted the recipe knowledge. They are obedient to people in authority and respect strong leadership. They also conform to the significant expectations of the other. They need strong social approval in making decisions. Moreover they are affectionate and loving when at home.
They are unlikely to offer direction or leadership that is creative because of fewer analytic knowledge and rigidity in their commitment. The following is an example of a girl in a foreclosure status: Mary’s mother is a lecturer in women and gender studies and is totally involved in feminist issues. Mary admires her mum so much.
She is a woman who is strong and as a single parent, has struggled to fend for her daughter while establishing her personal career. Mary believes that she, too, will be an independent and strong woman. She likes avoiding people especially men who don’t recognize her that perspective or just by attempting to bring let out her feminine personality.
She undoubtedly maneuvers clear of her maternal grandmamma who is very artsy and unpleasantly very disorganized. Mary’s performance at the university is promising and the selection of her courses shows her unwavering interest in politics, psychology and more importantly feminine/women studies. Foreclosure comes from some sort of adversity or roadblock
when a person delays commitment to an identity then an identity moratorium occurs. He or she may experiment with different roles and values. When a person is concerned in exploring varied identities and does not make any commitments, then it is in order that the person is in the moratorium state. The adolescents in this stage are the most anxious. They have well developed moral development.
They are able to describe their feelings deeply. They like to exercise a socially mature influence, good debaters, socially in-depth and effective, they are good critical thinkers about everything they say and do. An example of a moratorium status is as follows. Tom has switched his college major many times that it will take him 6 years to graduate.
Because his parents have incidentally refused to cater for his tuition ,room and board expenses, tom has tried so many of jobs, ranging from cleaner to shoe salesman. He likes jobs that allow him think and be alone; his friends are very much the like him.
He performs well but his record has many incompletes. He has had one satisfying intimate relationship and is looking anxiously for another. When a person lacks a clear sense of identity but still hasn’t explored issues related to identity development then identity diffusion happens. Here they engage intense immediate experiences that heighten their sense and provide an immediate pleasure.
They tend to avoid making decisions with less developed moral reasoning. They always belong to the negative identity. In terms of sexual orientation, they are more experimental. Here is an example of a boy who is identity diffusion state. Dan is a freshman in the nearby university close to his former high school.
He travels home almost every weekend but does not enjoy himself whenever he's there. He avoids talking to his high schoolmates friends or parents, prefers to surfing the web in his room. Occasionally he engages in impulsive shopping sprees and there after discusses elatedly over his new electronic appliance he has purchased..
He gets annoyed if his parent asks about it. Dan is registered for courses that he has been informed that are simple, and he doesn’t have strong interest in his studies or his grades. Dan apparently has few goals and doesn’t care much about finding it Identity achievement happens when a person considers other possibilities and commits to a certain direction in life and identity. In this case an individual has explored varied identities and made a commitment to one.
The adolescents in this category are the ones that are natured by their parents well and have democratic family. They tend to be involved in occupation, political and religious belief exploration. They can think critically and have reasonable mind in that they make informed decisions. However they can be convinced to change their mind.
They are the most highly adaptive and complex adolescents. They are more of future oriented and can identify things coming in their future. Moreover they have self esteem and high level of reflective ability. They develop good relationships with their colleagues. Here is an example of identity achievement status girl. Melissa has parents who are both doctors. At the university she was a Spanish Major, spending a semester in Spain studying culture and art.
During her graduation she surprised her parent that she had enrolled for medical school. She arrived at that decision after having an intimate relationship with a hospice nurse and working as a hospital volunteer during summer.
In our fast changing world, it is believed that identity crises are very many currently as compared to the Erikson's days. Exploring diverse areas of your life within your family, romantic relations and your role at work can help improve your individual identity.
Erickson, H.E (1970). Reflections on the dissident of contemporary youth, international journal on psychoanalysis
Marcia, E. J (1980). Identity in adolescents. In Adelson J.(Ed.), Handbook of Adolescence Psychology. Wiley: New York
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