Identity: Based on Erik Erikson and James Marcia

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Transcript Identity: Based on Erik Erikson and James Marcia

Identity: Based on Erik Erikson
and James Marcia
Maddy Brink
1. To discover what Erik Erikson means by a
person’s formation of identity through
dichotomies of crises.
2. To understand the four identity statuses identified
by James Marcia.
3. To identify characteristics of each identity status.
4. To explain my project and what I learned based
on these theories.
Maddy Brink
What does Erik Erikson believe regarding identity?
• Even from infancy, babies are forming their
identities through their interactions with their mothers
• Identity is formed based on many series of conflicts
• People go through eight stages of conflicts in
coming to terms with the world
• In order to have a healthy sense of the world,
children must learn in each stage of life both a
positive and negative aspect of a conflict that arises
from their experience with the world, and emerge
from each stage with a favorable ratio of positive over
negative. (ex. Trust v. Mistrust)
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Erikson’s Eight Stages of Identity Crisis
Trust v. Mistrust – Infancy
Autonomy v. Shame and Doubt – Toddlerhood
Initiative v. Guilt – Preschoolers
Industry v. Inferiority – School Aged
Identity v. Role Confusion – Adolescence
Intimacy v. Isolation – Early Adulthood
Generativity v. Stagnation – Middle Aged
Integrity v. Despair – Maturiy
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How does James Marcia fit in to all of this?
James Marcia set up a framework for understanding
how adolescents and young adults deal with the
problems they face during the conflicts of Identity
v. Role Confusion and Intimacy v. Isolation.
In Marcia’s system, there are four different statuses of
identity. Each corresponds to a stage in the
process of exploring and committing to an
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No exploration
No commitment
Identity Diffusion
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Identity Diffusion
“I don’t worry about values ahead of time; I decide things
when they happen.”
“I don’t know what I believe.”
Identity diffuse people do not know how they will end
up, nor do they care. They are just living for the
moment and give little thought to the future.
If diffuse people do not mature by adulthood – bad
news. They have little self-esteem and little autonomy;
they are usually disorganized, complicated, and
somewhat unethical. They are withdrawn, wary of
peers, and unfavorably received by others.
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“I’ve known since I was
young what I wanted to be.”
“It’s better to have a firm set of beliefs
than to be open to different ideas.”
Foreclosed people commit to an identity, but they
commit to an identity that has been handed to them,
usually by some authority. This is natural at a young
age, but often in young adulthood, children of wealthy
parents accept the predetermined identities that their
parents give them.
Foreclosed adults are characterized by a disapproval of
showing strong emotion, support for authoritarian
views, a need for social approval, poor results in
stressful situations, stereotypical relationships, great
behavior, and happy family life.
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People in the moratorium status are exploring
their identities, but they have not yet committed
to any certain ideology yet. They are
experimenting and searching for a set of ideas
and beliefs to call their own.
Moratoriums are characterized by anxiety, high self-esteem,
internally oriented behavior, cultural sophistication, a need for
both rebellion and acceptance, short deep relationships, and
favorable reception from others.
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Identity Achieved
People who are identity achieved have explored their
options and have committed to a certain ideology that fits
them. They have taken on a set of values and beliefs that
are all their own. “They know not only who they are, they
know how they became that, and that they had a hand in the
becoming.” - James Marcia
These people are independent, smart, and confident. They
are generally well-received by others, and they have high
self-esteem, even in unfamiliar situations.
Maddy Brink
Male v. Female = we are not the same.
•Females base identity on interpersonal relationships
•Females deal with traditional gender issues when
determining identity
•Ex) from “White Oleander”
Photos ©2002 Warner Bros. Pictures
Link to women’s relationships paper
Link to interview comment
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What did I do with my project, then?
1. Interview college students to see if I could determine what
stage of identity formation they are in
2. Interview young teenagers to see what stages they are in,
and how they have been influenced.
3. Interview adults who can look back on their lives to see
the different stages, and how they progressed from one to
the next.
Maddy Brink
Interviews for 18-22 year olds.
•Determine identity status
•Find characteristic behaviors/thought patterns in each
•See how much parents influence the children, even as
the children are no longer children
•See what types of crises made people change.
•Find differences between male and female responses.
Sample interview
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Interviews for 11-12 year olds.
•Determine status
•See who influences this age group the most
•Know why they believe what they believe
•Are they independent in their thoughts?
Where do their ideas come from?
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Interview for Adults
•Did they have to go through all four statuses?
•What was the order of statuses?
•What caused them to move from one status to
•What was a big crisis they faced and how did it
effect them?
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What I have found…
Data for 11-12 year old students
Data for 18-23 year olds
•19 year old female (rape victim)
•22 year old male (from military background)
•20 year old male (had severe depression)
•19 year old female (motorcycle gang parents)
Data for Adult Interviews
•60 year old female
•27 year old female
•27 year old male
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•Through the interview process, we can determine a person’s
predominant identity status.
•Identity also is not an all-inclusive term that applies to the whole
of a person’s personality.
• based in all the positive or negative outcomes of Erikson’s 8
stages of development
•Lifelong MAMA cycles
“…identity crises (MAMA cycles) are present throughout the life span.”
- Jim Marcia
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Conclusions, Cont…
When a person first accomplishes a fixed identity
status, his sense of accomplishment/relief that he has settled on
an identity will often lead to more identity formation, in other
areas of his life.
“But the one thing that constructing that first identity almost
guarantees is subsequent identity crises. If you put it into a
Piagetian framework, every accommodation carries within it the
seeds of its own disequilibration. When you've developed a
structure then certain things that you had to think about before
become automatic. What that does is to permit one to be aware of
things that they never even perceived previously. Hence, the seeds
of disequilibration as new experiences must now be
accommodated.” – Jim Marcia
Take the Marcia-Erikson Quiz!
Maddy Brink
Table of Contents for the PowerPoint
Title Page
12. What did I do?
13. Interview 18-22
What does Erikson believe?
14. Interview 11-12
Erikson’s 8 stgaes
15. Interview Adults
How does Marcia fit in?
16. Data
Marcia’s 4 statuses
17. Conclusions
Identity Diffusion
18. Conclusions, Cont…
10. Identity Achievement
11. Male v. Female
Maddy Brink
Works Cited
Crain, W. (2000). Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications. (4th
ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
Erikson, E.H. (1968). Identity: Youth and Crisis. New York: Norton
Hoover, K.R. (1997). With Marcia, J.E., and Parris, K. The Power of Identity:
Politics in a New Key. New Jersey: Chatham House.
Marcia, J. E. (1980). Ego Identity Development. In J. Adelson (Ed.), Handbook
of Adolescent Psychology. New York: John Wiley.
Marcia, J.E. (2003). E-mails sent to ME!
Maddy Brink