FocusStatuses/modes of adolescent identity
- Knowledge is … range of possible identity statuses
- Knowing is … an identity status
- Learner is … an adolescent
- Learning is … exploring identifications
- Teaching is … N/A
SynopsisIdentity Status Theory is an elaboration of Psychosocial Development Theory. Identity Status Theory replaces the suggestion that adolescence involves a need to resolve an “Identity vs. Role Confusion” tension with the assertion that adolescence is more about exploration of identifications from a range of life domains (e.g., social groups, religion, vocation, gender roles). Four identity statuses are proposed, differentiated according to whether one has (1) explored identity options and (2) committed to an identity:
- Identity Diffusion (James Marcia, 1960s) – the least mature status of Identity Status Theory, applied to those who have neither explored identity options not committed to an identity. Prolonged Identity Diffusion is associated with low self-esteem, self-absorption, and poor social relationships.
- Identity Foreclosure (James Marcia, 1960s) – in Identity Status Theory, the status of one who has not explored identity options, but who has committed to an identity. Prolonged Identity Foreclosure is associated with conformity, resistance to change, and uncritical thinking.
- Identity Moratorium (James Marcia, 1960s) – in Identity Status Theory, the status of one who is exploring identity options, but who has not committed to an identity. This status is associated with uncooperative attitudes, anxiety, and uncertainty.
- Identity Achievement (James Marcia, 1960s) – in Identity Status Theory, the status of one who has both explored identity options and committed to an identity
CommentaryAs with many 20th-century Developmental Discourses, the research subjects for Identity Status Theory were mainly white American males, presenting complex gender, racial, classist, and cultural limitations.
Authors and/or Prominent InfluencesJames Marcia
Status as a Theory of LearningIdentity Status Theory is a theory of learning … mainly about oneself.
Status as a Theory of TeachingIdentity Status Theory is not a theory of teaching.
Status as a Scientific TheoryIdentity Status Theory has a very limited empirical basis, although it has a strong intuitive appeal in western societies.
- Identity Achievement
- Identity Diffusion
- Identity Foreclosure
- Identity Moratorium
Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2022). “Identity Status Theory” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.
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