critical thinking activity

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Psych210 week 4 DB 250 words



Topic: After reading the textbook, reviewing the presentation, and working through the Critical Thinking Activity (in Reading & Study folder), form a strong narrative of your personal journey in dealing with the period of identity statuses presented on p. 434. Please include information from the textbook and spiritual formation.


Page 434

> > Identity

Psychosocial development during adolescence is often understood as a search for

a consistent understanding of oneself. Self-expression and self-concept become in-

creasingly important, as the egocentrism described in Chapter 15 illustrates. Each

young person wants to know “Who am I?”

According to Erik Erikson, life’s fifth psychosocial crisis is identity versus role

confusion, with the complexities of finding one’s own identity being the primary

task of adolescence (Erikson, 1968). He said this crisis is resolved with identity

achievement; after adolescents reconsider the goals and values of their parents

and culture, they accept some and discard others, discerning their own unique self.

The result is neither wholesale rejection nor unquestioning acceptance of soci-

ety (Côté, 2009). With their new autonomy, teenagers maintain continuity with

the past so they can move to the future, achieving their own identity—necessary

since their context is not identical to that of their parents, and each person has a

unique combination of genes and alleles.

Erikson’s insights inspired many researchers. Notable a

Not Yet Achieved

Erikson’s insights inspired many researchers. Notable among them was James

Marcia, who described and measured four specific ways young people cope with

this stage of life: (1) achievement, (2) role confusion, (3) foreclosure, (3) morato-

rium (Marcia, 1966). Over the past half-century, major psychosocial shifts have

lengthened the duration of adolescence and made identity achievement more com-

plex (Côté, 2006; Kroger et al., 2010; Nurmi, 2004). However, these four possible

paths still seem evident.

Role confusion is the opposite of identity achievement. It is characterized by

lack of commitment to any goals or values. Identity confusion is sometimes called

identity diffusion, to emphasize that some adolescents seem diffuse, unfocused,

unconcerned about their future (Phillips & Pittman, 2007). Even the usual social

demands—such as putting away clothes, making friends, completing school as-

signments, and thinking about college or career—are beyond the ability of con-

fused adolescents. Instead, they might sleep too much, immerse themselves in

video games or mind-numbing television, and turn from one romance to another.

Their thinking is disorganized, they procrastinate, they avoid issues and actions

(Côté, 2009).

Identity foreclosure occurs when, in order to halt the confusion, young people

accept traditional values without question (Marcia, 1966; Marcia et al., 1993).

They might follow roles and customs transmitted from their parents or culture,

never exploring alternatives. Or they might foreclose completely on an opposi-

tional, negative identity, again without any thoughtful questioning. Foreclosure is

a comfortable shelter.

A more mature shelter is moratorium, a kind of time-out. Societies provide

many moratoria (such as college) that allow adolescents to postpone identity

achievement. Adolescents can be in moratorium throughout their teen years, but

since this status peaks at age 19 (Kroger et al., 2010), the specific modes of mora-

torium are described in the chapters on emerging adulthood.

Many aspects of the search for identity have become more arduous than when

Erikson first described them. Fifty years ago, the drive to become independent

and autonomous was thought to be the “key normative psychosocial task of adoles-

cence” (Zimmer-Gembeck & Collins, 2003, p. 177). Developmentalists still believe

that adolescents struggle through the identity crisis, but it now seems that attaining

autonomy and achieving identity before age 18 are unlikely (Kroger et al., 2010).

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