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Is Marriage Ruining Your Sex Life? Enter the terms you wish to search for. Are You Having an Identity Crisis? You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “identity crisis,” but you may not know its origins. The developmental psychologist Erik Erikson defined eight crisis stages that characterize our lives from birth through death. There are advantages to exploring your identity during your teenage years.
According to Erikson, it’s important to think seriously about these issues and ultimately to come to enough of a resolution so that the path you embark on in adulthood is one that you have consciously chosen. This is the psychological state that Erikson called “identity achievement. A strong identity emerges not only from this conscious contemplation of your life’s purpose, but also from successfully resolving the developmental challenges that characterize the previous childhood years. Let’s get back to the question of identity.
An identity “crisis” may occur at any time in your adult years when you’re faced with a challenge to your sense of self. In addition, not every adolescent goes through an identity crisis at all but instead accepts the roles and values handed down by his or her parents. The four identity statuses are built from high and low positions on two identity dimensions. People high on commitment have a firm sense of who they are and feel strongly about the choices they have made. People low in identity commitment have an uncertain sense of self.
If you are high on the exploration dimension, you are actively questioning your sense of self and looking for ways to come to a decision. Combining the high and low points on each dimension, we arrive at four identity statuses. People high on the commitment and exploration dimension are the traditional “identity achieved. At the opposite pole on both dimensions, people low in commitment and exploration fit Erikson’s criteria for “identity diffused. People high on exploration but low on commitment are in a category that Marcia called “moratorium.
The most favorable status for people to have in terms of adjustment is identity achieved. People who are moratorium, at least during adolescence, will be the most likely to fit the classic image of the rebellious teen. The identity diffuse can also experience difficulties because they tend to float and may be led astray and into high-risk behaviors. The foreclosed are perhaps the most interesting, however.
The identity statuses were originally meant to apply to adolescents but later researchers have extended them to the adult years. In looking at adults, though, the natural question to ask is whether an identity exploration in adolescence is enough to keep people optimally adapted in adulthood. Several identity researchers, including me, examined the commitment and exploration dimensions as continuous developmental processes that can carry on throughout life. There are various questionnaires that identity researchers use to measure identity statuses or the dimensions that produce them. I’ve found it helpful to boil them down into a simple, 4-question quiz.
The quiz gives you a quick assessment of which identity status is closest to how you are right now. Once you’ve taken the quiz, I’ll give you some pointers on how to interpret your answers and move from there to plans to work on areas that may require some re-examination. For each question, pick the choice that is closest to the way you feel right now. I can never be too sure about because things change so fast. I haven’t really considered because it doesn’t excite me much. I feel pretty much the same way as my family.
I follow what they do in terms of voting and such. I realize I can agree with some and not other aspects of what my family believes. I’m not sure what religion means to me. I’d like to make up my mind but I’m not done looking yet. I don’t give religion much thought and it doesn’t bother me one way or the other. I’ve never really questioned my religion.