When individuals make a premature commitment to an identity, yet fail to explore their identity thoroughly, as in the case of Rachel in our last post, they are in what psychologists call an Identity Foreclosure. On the other hand, individuals like Juan who engage in extensive exploration of their identity and make an informed commitment are thought to be in an Identity Achievement. Researchers have also identified two other identity statuses.

Identity Diffusion is a status in which an individual has not made a commitment to an identity, nor has even explored an identity. Individuals in an Identity Moratorium have and maybe even continue to explore answers to the “Who Am I?” question, but don’t yet have an answer to this question. 

Reference: Marcia, J. E.  (1966).  Development and validation of ego identity status.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 551-558.

About the Author

Kristine Anthis, Ph.D.

Kristine Anthis, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at Southern Connecticut State University. She is the author of Lifespan Development, Sage Publications.

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