Friday, December 18, 2015

Theories of Adolescent Identity Development

Identity in Context--
Nakkula and Toshalis
You can find this text here

Identity development theories describe processes and stages that one goes through in determining "me now" and "me I want to be". Through a series of positive and negative experiences youth shape these notions. It is important to remember again that those who work with youth coauthor this perception of self, and that impact goes both ways.

The authors note four stages which a person can reside in this process (not linear):

1. ACHIEVED Identity-- represents a moment when the individual has resolved an identity crisis. There is a strong commitment to their choices. They are able to feel confident with who they are in diverse settings. Usually this stage is reached after a long period of exploration and experimentation. they have a high tolerance for criticism. Self-control and autonomy are characteristics of this stage.

2. FORECLOSED Identity-- describes walking on a path unconsciously. This person makes choices with little exploration, experimentation, or critical thinking. Often these ideas come from outside pressure and forces asserting what they should believe and do. Predetermined expectations of themselves are accepted with considering alternative options. This identity is a narrow-minded one, it does not welcome anything that conflicts with established beliefs, but rather relies on outside validation.

3. DIFFUSE Identity-- seems to be fueled by a state of apathy. There is no crisis or commitment from the individual. Though little exploration is done in forming an identity, they are the most subjective to outside influence. These people often change beliefs and life paths very often and impulsively. They tend to adapt to those around them. Self confidence and decision-making fluctuate in extremes. Because they are context dependent, they have a hard time distinguishing the boundaries between their setting and themselves.

4. MORATORIUM-- describes a state of constant exploration and testing one's environment, but resulting in zero commitment to any one path or belief system. While in this stage, people seek stability in the world around them because of anxiety fueled by lacking sense of self. Often they imagine what it would be like to choose different roles, based on models in the their current life. The most significant point to this stage is that although it is an anxious one, the person is researching. This means that they have reasoning as to why they are choosing to be whomever they choose. Although experimentation is often not in depth, they are actively searching.

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