Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Erik Erikson (1968) conceptualized the primary psychosocial task of adolescence as one of developing a sense of identity, of finding a place on a continuum between identity achievement and identity confusion. Identity, thus, is something one possesses to a greater or lesser degree, according to Erikson. In the mid-1960s, however, James Marcia developed and began empirically validating the ego identity statuses. Marcia's (1966) approach to identity suggested that there were qualitatively different styles by which individuals undertook the identity formation task. Marcia's identity status model has been a popular means of exploring questions of identity development, antecedents, associated personality variables, and behavioral outcomes in both adolescent and adult life. The identity statuses refer to different possible modes by which individuals undertake the psychosocial task of identity formation, a process most commonly occurring during adolescence. Drawing from Erikson's (1968) writings on adolescent identity, Marcia (1966) used the criteria of exploration identity ...