Marcia’s identity statuses

Marcia’s identity statuses

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MARCIA’S IDENTITY STATUSES

Marcia’sidentity statuses

Marcia’sidentity statuses

Thereare many questions that arise when one tries to identify his or herreal identity. There are several ways through which individuals cananswer questions related to their identity. Additionally, theidentity of an individual usually changes as the person moves fromone development stage to another. Identity can be defined as thecombination of different aspects that defines persons, which includesbehaviors, beliefs, preferences, abilities and talents as well asthought and values (Seth et al, 2010). This means that the identityof a person changes progressively, throughout the lifespan of anindividual. For example, a young adult does not have the sameidentity as he or she was as an adolescent.

JamesMarcia is one of the most famous scholars who studied the developmentof identities. In developing his identity theory, Marcia intervieweda large number of people in an attempt to understand how theiridentity developed. For example, he sought to know how believes andpreferences emerge and develop in individuals. Based on his findings,he argued that identity is based on occupation and ideology.According to Marcia theory, occupation refers to the role of theindividual n the immediate society. For example, social roles such asa father, a celebrity or am elder can have an influence on anindividual identity. The ideology refers to the beliefs and valuesheld by the individual (Seth et al, 2010). For example, religious orpolitical ideologies have significant influence on an individual’sidentity.

Basedon his findings, Marcia proposed four identity statuses. Thesestatuses refer to the degree to which an individual has attained aparticular identity. The first status is the identity diffusionstatus where the individual has low commitment to a certain identify.According to Marcia this identity status may usually occurs betweenthe age of 12 and 18 years. Majority of adolescents are in thisstatus and find it difficult to be committed in an identity. This isbecause crisis and experiences are likely to influence them to adopta different identity. The second identity status identified by Marciais the identity foreclosure. This is an identity status where thereare no crises. This involves an individual being committed to aparticular identity without carefully exploring the identity. Forexample, this may occur when young people are forced to adopt theirparents’ beliefs and preferences without a conscious choice. Thismay result into resentment in the future since he was not allowed tomake his or her choices (Seth et al, 2010). The third identity statusis identity moratorium where the individual is in the middle ofcrisis and is exploring and searching for an appropriate identity.Although interesting, it is a potentially dangerous identity statussince individuals tend to try different things while exploringdifferent identities. This is the typical identity status forindividuals in the adolescent stage and is characterized withconflicts with the authorities (for example parents). The forthidentity status is identity achievement. At this status, theindividual is committed to an identity and the exploration is over.This status is attained after the completion of the moratoriumstatus. It is characterized by a higher degree of commitment to theidentity. However, the age at which individuals reach this identitystatus varies from one individual to another (Seth et al, 2010).Although Marcia theory mainly focuses on changes in identity statusbetween adolescence and young adulthood, it can also be used toexplain the development of identities in other age groups.

References

Seth,J. S. et al (2011). Handbookof identity theory and research,New York: Springer.