Summary / Abstract

Title: Events associated with identity status change

Synopsis: This study examines events associated with identity status change between late adolescence andmid-adulthood. One hundred adults, aged 40-63 years, participated in a retrospective study of identity development. Anadaptation of Marcia's (1966) Identity Status Interview was used to examine identity status movements within five identitydomains. For each identity transition, the event judged to be primarily responsible for precipitating change was coded as follows:“age-graded,” “history-graded,” “critical,” “family life cycle stage,”“different milieu,” “internal change,” “influence of significant other,” and “lack ofopportunity”. “Internal change” was associated with the greatest frequency of changes into achievement,moratorium, and diffusion statuses across most domains; “influence of a significant other” was most commonly associatedwith the transition to foreclosure in most domains. Few significant associations were found among identity status, event type, anddemographic variables within each identity domain. Implications of these findings for our understanding of identity formation arebriefly discussed. identity domains, transition, age, life, internal change, interview, identity development, Kroger, moratorium, foreclosure, family life cycle, event type, influence, adult, adolescence, diffusion, demographic variables, life cycle stage, ego identity, retrospective study, religion politics sex, identity formation process, paid employment, situational variables, political domain, personality variables, identity formation, identity defining commitments, identity defining, probable behaviours,

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journal adolescence 1996 19 477 490 events associated identity status change jane kroger kathy e green study examines events associated identity status change late adolescence mid adulthood hundred adults aged 40 63 years participated retrospective study identity development adaptation marcia 1966 identity status interview examine identity status movements five identity domains identity transition event judged primarily responsible precipitating change coded follows age graded history graded critical family life cycle stage different milieu internal change influence significant lack opportunity internal change associated greatest frequency changes achievement moratorium diffusion statuses domains influence significant commonly associated transition foreclosure domains significant associations found identity status event type demographic variables identity domain implications findings understanding identity formation briefly discussed 1996 association professionals services adolescents introduction relationship contextual situational variables process identity development subject theoretical discussion little empirical investigation writings erik erikson identity formation process late adolescence erikson 1959 1968 erikson conceptualized identity psychosocial terms noting importance historical ethos cultural social milieu conjunction biological capacities idiosyncratic individual needs defenses development sense ego identity nexus social images organismic forces merely sense images forces saying goes interrelated mutual complementation ethos ego group identity ego identity puts greater common potential disposal ego synthesis social organization erikson 1959 pp 22 23 process ego synthesis individuals draw individually unique capacities differential response social milieus different capacities different opportunities full grown components new configuration growing personality erikson 1959 p 57 empirical investigation social psychology literature relationship situational contextual variables personality development pointed ways situational variables broad limits probable behaviours personality variables considered combination likely predict reprint requests correspondence addressed dr j kroger psychology department university tromsų n 9037 tromsų norway 0140 1971 96 05047714 18 00 0 1996 association professionals services adolescents 478 j kroger k e green particular choice behaviour patterns broader limits e g stewart 1980 james 1990 flanagan 1990 stewart research women choice lifestyle indicated family situation variables married children broad limits behaviours personality variables predict particular response individual makes circumstances james analysis women employment histories terms labour force entrance exit patterns relation indicators suggests mid life determined life style choice extent endeavours reflections identity resolutions james 1990 p 118 flanagan 1990 overview research economic recession parent child relationships points impact changes parental work status adolescent behaviour identity development literature empirical studies suggested relationship situational personality variables literature remains infancy kroger haslett 1987 1991 found situational variables age level education socio economic status marital status parental status controlled retrospective study identity development mid life adults participants demonstrated different pathways identity formation made different life style choices similarly adams fitch 1983 found university departmental environments appeared attract types students students departments different factors emerged facilitate identity formation process researchers found societal awareness encouraged faculty peers condition helped students broaden perspectives identity related issues environmental situational factors broad limits probable behaviours associated identity exploration arrest need investigation identity development literature focus present investigation researching identity formation process marcia 1966 marcia et al 1993 identity status model popular means elaborating refining erikson original theoretical notions identity drawing erikson psychosocial definition ego identity marcia proposed four approaches take attempting resolve meaningful identity defining commitments vocational ideological relationship roles offered larger social cultural milieu marcia depicted identity achieved entered identity defining commitments terms active period reflection exploration decision making moratorium individual process exploration attempting meaningful lifedirections expressive personal interests talents foreclosed individual like identity achieved formed commitments made exploration thoughtful self reflection based commitments significant diffused moratorium committed meaningful life directions moratorium diffused evidenced little interest seeking commitments psychosocial roles values expressive personal interests beliefs marcia identity status model serve framework exploration contexts events associated identity status transitions transitions involving identity exploration commitment arrest sample mid life adults present research present study focuses events associated identity status change sample 100 mid life adults asked reflect identity formation process 479 events identity status change adolescence middle adulthood participants aged 40 63 years provided extensive retrospective interview accounts identity defining decisions made psychosocial domains vocational religious political sex role intimate relationship values individuals came upper middle upper income occupational groups decisions identity defining domains likely constrained financial circumstances pathways identity status movements individuals described two previous studies kroger haslett 1987 1991 waterman 1982 descriptive model possible identity status changes served basis examining duration timing identity status movements five identity domains vocation religion politics sex role values relationships kroger haslett investigations common pathway identity status movement sample subgroups identity domains foreclosure moratorium achievement duration timing transition varied markedly domains factors associated transitions previously empirically examined longitudinal design represents ideal examining direction timing identity status change factors associated transitions retrospective method present exploratory study order gain preliminary understandings types events situational contexts differentially associated identity status movements identity domains effort made preliminary questionnaires intensive interviews ensure accuracy timing key events reportedly associated changing commitments identity defining issues study remain exploratory suggestive relationships fruitfully examined future longitudinal investigations identity development course adolescent adult life span present investigation questions types events situational contexts associated identity status change specifically issues guided direction study 1 identity domains vocation religion politics sex role values relationships differences types events associated identity status change 2 five identity domains significant associations demographic variables age span sex age group education level percentage time paid employment life style pattern marital parental status identity status event type 3 five identity domains types events commonly associated transition identity status achievement moratorium foreclosure diffusion method subjects subjects study 100 mid life new zealanders 40 men 60 women aged 40 63 years mean ages men women 48 3 years 46 3 years respectively participants spouses occupation classed level 1 professional level 2 managerial elley irving socio economic index new zealand elley irving 1981 socio economic status associated differences developmental change neugarten 1968 present sample 480 j kroger k e green restricted upper upper middle class income groups likely experienced financial constraints impinging identity defining decisions vocational religious political sex role relationship pursuits subjects contacted networking sampling technique initially 12 adult students continuing education courses meeting age socio economic criteria study 40 65 years age household adult holding professional managerial work role volunteered participate possible recommend make initial contact two acquaintances close friends met project sampling criteria interested interviewed agreed contacted phone sent background questionnaire interviewed time location choice procedure repeated 40 men 60 women interviewed 91 expressed initial interest interviewed contacted interviewer ultimately study characteristic sample naturally high level education due selection criteria men 39 98 held bachelor degree professional vocational qualification e g primary secondary school teaching certificate 19 48 held post graduate degree twenty five women 42 held bachelor degree professional vocational qualification e g primary secondary school teaching certificate ten women 17 held post graduate degree time interview 38 men 95 employed full time remaining two men 5 employed time basis 8 34 hours week women time interview 21 35 employed full time 18 30 time basis remaining 21 women 35 full time homemakers eighty two participants 82 first marriages catholic priest married ninety three participants 93 child effort made interview participants representing variety occupational choices life style patterns balances paid employment home demands men two participants engaged time work undertaken children departure home approximately equal numbers women employed outside home chosen balances paid employment homemaking maintained full time employment adulthood maintained time employment adulthood returned full time employment child rearing returned time employment child rearing measure marcia ego identity status interview identity defining components occupation religion politics sex role values attitudes intimate relationships assessed marcia 1966 ego identity status interview waterman et al 1979 whitbourne 1979 modification identity status interview adult subjects five domains participants asked describe attitudes held age 15 trace developments relevant values intervening years present individuals classed identity achieved moratorium foreclosure diffusion interview component chronological year age 15 years time interview 481 events identity status change addition participants asked describe regarded primary sources influence identity status change occurred events noted time interview important event associated identity status change coded categories 1 age graded event event experienced result age regulated societal requirements e g leaving high school first vote self supporting paying taxes retirement 2 history graded event experience associated historical event general historical ethos e g great depression world war ii women movement 3 critical life event single event involving major loss setback occuring point life cycle e g illness self important death job loss school failure broken romance major financial setback 4 stage family life cycle event related normative family life cycle phases e g marriage parent last child leaving home grandparent 5 exposure different cultural social milieus sources knowledge e g leaving home town work study different city going overseas travel study exposure different people literature presenting alternative values 6 direct influence significant involving critical life event normative family life cycle stage issue e g influence parent spouse partner analyst close friend child mentor teacher 7 internal change discontent coming terms self strong external source influence reported e g altered perspective new awareness introspection 8 opportunity desired goal lack opportunity present context pursue vocational ideological sex role relationship values categories derived subjects original descriptions factors associated significant periods transition re evaluation lives identity status change resulted combination circumstances single influential factor coded scheme conjunction identity status change three instances opportunity rated conjunction movement identity diffusion two vocational domain domain sex role values event category dropped subsequent analyses interviews ranged quarter three quarter hours length facilitated preparatory questionnaire life transitions marker events participants completed prior interview questionnaire requested participants complete information key circumstances played major role bringing pursuits values held present responses served initial focus interview interviews tape recorded assessment procedure participants interviewed 6 month interval first author interviews tape recorded rating four trained judges graduate students education psychology trained listening communication skills judges assigned subject identity status year chronological age age 15 years present five interview domains identity status change occurred judge noted important factor primarily associated change first 12 interview tapes training purposes discussed jointly judge coded approximately quarter remaining tapes ego identity status type event primarily associated identity status change 482 j kroger k e green inter rater reliability established random selection 22 participants 25 remaining sample participants tapes rated independently three judges identity status event category associated identity status change comparisons first made identity status rating participant chronological year age component based criterion 2 3 agreement raters percentages agreement five identity domains follows vocation 94 religion 98 politics 97 sex role values 93 relationships 93 discrepancy occurred first author adjudicated probability 93 agreement two raters p 10 15 test random assignment major demographic variables coded follows age group experiencing conclusion world war ii prior age 15 years age 15 years sex education level post secondary qualification post secondary qualification post graduate qualification percentage time paid employment full time time time age span 15 24 years 25 34 years 35 44 years life style employed full time time adulthood returned full time time employment childrearing return paid employment child rearing marital status first marriage parental status child children data examined age 15 age 44 years participants sample size considerably reduced age 44 age spans divided 10 year blocks basis preliminary analyses found stability pace identity status change 10 year time periods kroger haslett 1987 results type life event associated identity status change identity domains first question addressed study differences types events associated identity status change different identity domains loglinear analyses examine dependency cell frequencies identity status change identity domain event type cell frequencies analysis based number persons reporting event particular type number events type results indicated best fitting model required three two associations identity status change domain domain event type event type identity status change results two association follows identity status change domain lr 2 106 09 df 12 p 0 00 domain event type lr 2 206 07 df 24 p 0 00 event type identity status change lr 2 349 35 df 18 p 0 00 result three association significant lr 2 59 06 df 72 p 0 86 significant associations identity status change identity domain event type interpreted cautiously cells low zero counts making results unstable analyses undertaken clarify event types potentially salient particular identity domains identity status changes results indicate types events associated identity status change appear equal frequencies identity domains identity status transitions presence significant two associations means identity status change domain association difference frequency particular identity status changes paired particular identity domain domain event type association 483 events identity status change 80 0 domains number people experiencing event 60 40 20 vocation religion politics sex roles relationships age graded history graded critical family cycle new contexts internal significant figure 1 events associated identity status change difference frequency movement particular domains paired particular event type event type identity status change association difference frequency particular event types paired particular identity status transition instance identity status change domain association frequent movement diffusion status domain religion compared identity domains domain event type association history graded events appeared far frequently sex role domain domains agegraded events appeared far frequently political domain compared domains event type identity status change association influence significant represented movement diffusion status compared event types internal changes contributed disproportionately total number events associated identity status change identity domains 47 events associated identity status change rated internal change area political values 48 area sex role values 58 religious domain 63 area vocation 67 relationships domain internal events commonly linked change moratorium achievement identity statuses two transitions occurred frequently domains findings described fully results section figure 1 illustrates frequency life event types associated identity status change identity domains associations demographic variables identity status change event type identity domains second question consideration significant associations identity status change event type demographic variables five identity domains dependency cell frequencies event type identity status change demographic variables examined identity 484 j kroger k e green domain log linear analyses demographic variables examined disaggregated form earlier work indicated different identity status movement patterns associated subgrouping variables kroger haslett 1987 1991 cell frequencies analyses based number persons reporting event particular type number events event type partial chi square associations significant p 0 01 vocation identity status change age span lr 2 22 21 df 6 p 0 002 event type life style lr 2 30 17 df 12 p 0 003 religion event type age span lr 2 28 48 df 12 p 0 005 politics event type age span lr 2 36 47 df 12 p 0 0004 relationships event type age span association approached significance lr 2 25 47 df 12 p 0 02 significant associations demographic variables identity status change event type five identity domains interpreted cautiously cells low zero counts making results unstable analyses undertaken exploratory purposes noteworthy results finding identity domains significant event type identity status change partial chi square considerably larger chi square value associated demographic variable analysis words event type identity status change strongly associated demographic variables identity status change demographic variables event type domain vocation event type influence significant strongly linked movement foreclosure position demographic variable age span demographic variables identity status change age span event type life style associations significant domain vocation event type age span association significant religion politics approached significance relationships domain significant age span event type associations described association occurred consistently domains majority events linked identity status change religious political domains came first 15 24 year third 35 44 year age spans involved exposure new contexts internal change processes event type frequently associated identity status change first age span political domain 45 identity status changes associated agegraded events 15 24 year age group contrast age graded events appeared age spans political domain able exercise first vote pay taxes first earnings common experiences linked identity transitions 15 24 year age span political domain second age span 25 34 years internal events family life cycle events frequently associated identity status changes religious relationship domains children age start sunday school parents re examine religious beliefs relationships domain questions regarding meaning intimacy occurred 25 34 year age span children arrived marital relationship required renegotiation preliminary analyses examining associations identity domain event type demographic variables identity domains produced event type domain effect variables sex event type sex effect women far likely men experience identity transition associated stage family life cycle domains religion domain vocation third 485 events identity status change women identity status transition associated stage family life cycle contrast men family life cycle events associated identity status transition vocational domain events associated specific identity status changes identity domains third final question addressed study types events commonly associated specific identity status changes i e achievement moratorium foreclosure diffusion five identity domains vocation religion politics sex role values relationships findings presented descriptive basis table 1 indicates frequency events associated movement identity status transition identity achievement status events falling internal change event category contributed disproportionately total number events associated identity status change five identity domains occupation 94 events associated transition achievement status table 1 mean number events associated transition identity status identity domain domain life event category age history family new internal significant graded graded critical cycle contexts change n m n m n m n m n m n m n m transition identity achievement vocation 0 0 0 2 1 0 3 1 0 61 1 8 2 1 0 religion 0 0 2 1 0 3 1 0 1 1 0 34 1 3 3 1 0 politics 5 1 0 0 0 3 1 0 2 1 0 38 1 0 1 1 0 sex roles 0 3 1 0 0 3 1 0 1 1 0 53 1 1 7 1 1 relationships 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 51 1 2 7 1 0 transition moratorium vocation 0 0 9 1 1 12 1 3 33 1 2 50 1 4 6 1 0 religion 0 0 1 1 0 8 1 0 19 1 0 28 1 1 5 1 0 politics 1 1 0 12 1 0 0 1 1 0 22 1 0 22 1 0 2 1 0 sex roles 0 23 1 0 2 1 5 9 1 1 14 1 0 18 1 1 8 1 1 relationships 0 2 1 0 10 1 0 7 1 0 7 1 0 37 1 1 10 1 0 transition foreclosure vocation 1 1 0 4 1 0 2 1 0 7 1 1 1 1 0 12 1 1 14 1 0 religion 0 0 0 5 1 0 1 1 0 2 2 0 4 1 0 politics 24 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 1 0 sex roles 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 relationships 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 3 1 0 transition diffusion vocation 1 1 0 0 2 1 0 2 1 0 4 1 0 5 1 0 0 religion 0 0 0 1 1 0 12 1 0 22 1 1 0 politics 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 1 0 0 sex roles 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 relationships 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 486 j kroger k e green rated internal change identity domains percentages accounted internal change event type follows religion 83 politics 78 sex roles 79 relationships 85 predominant transition pathway achievement moratorium kroger haslett 1991 subjects commonly reported sense finding contentment peace mind congruence personal satisfaction newly formed commitments conjunction transition achievement identity status internal process gradual awareness change interests naturopathy i ve developed sense control life health i ve come i man i struggled hard keep going earlier health deteriorated i ve got health business children happy enjoying life time 44 year old female naturopath divorced three children i ve come feel past year peace mind i m aware life i feel acceptance people wife 55 year old male writer married child transition moratorium status appears associated primarily exposure new social cultural environments internal change five identity domains internal change accounted half transitions moratorium status domains vocational religious relationship values 50 48 53 respectively exposure new social cultural environments associated 28 transitions moratorium area vocation 30 area religion 10 area relationships political domain internal change tied exposure new social cultural contexts accounting 37 transitions moratorium status sex role domain history graded events predominantly rise women movement accounted 33 moratorium transitions followed 29 transitions associated internal change non normative critical life events 14 influence significant 14 two categories contributing second highest frequencies events associated identity status change relationships domain predominant transition pathway moratorium foreclosure kroger haslett 1991 vocational religious political domains participants commonly reported discontent previously held values exposure new contexts leaving home responsible re examining identity defining decisions i didn t feel happy working family business wasn t sufficiently unhappy push brought time close dissatisfaction i get dissatisfied i tend make leap case leap i made europe i turned eighteen move separated family i didn t struggle family i get away inside important thing change i stood found jobs traveled thought i wanted future 43 year old male accountant married two children sex role domain transition moratorium primarily associated influence women movement exposure additional contexts internal experiences dissatisfaction previously held sex role values occurred relationships domain internal changes growing dissatisfaction partner changed level awareness needs intimate relationship commonly associated transition moratorium status 487 events identity status change i remember sitting chair fire evening wife reading chair opposite dog feet scene i ll forget first time i remember aware wife i completely separate people different i changed 55 year old male teacher married three children impact critical life events loss partner death divorce influence significant therapist close friend associated transition moratorium relationships domain events associated transition foreclosure identity status showed marked differences identity domains noted transition foreclosure status occur frequently identity domain commonly participants rated foreclosed outset study identity status transitions point transition foreclosure occurred commonly diffusion status occasional movements moratorium achievement positions foreclosure status kroger haslett 1991 vocational domain influence significant ranked first accounting largest frequency events associated transition foreclosure 39 followed internal change 36 participants transition foreclosure referred general discontent drifting dissatisfaction going describing events associated ultimately making commitment domain religion stage family life cycle events commonly associated transition foreclosure 42 followed influence significant 33 children started growing i felt duty take church i hadn t religion thought years i picked mother religion kids church i guess children growing brought back religion years 47 year old housewife married three children political domain age graded events 86 contributed strongly total transitions foreclosure commonly need make first voting decision impact paying taxes subjects reported associated adopting stance political social issues stance based primarily values adopted significant i think i started taking interest politics i saw pay first teaching job going government coffers i wanted say spent i started voting taking interest labour said father supported labour said best ordinary person get results 40 year old male teacher child incidences movement foreclosure status sex role relationships domains n 5 n 7 respectively influence significant event category featured prominently transitions occurred 80 43 events respectively transition diffusion status occurred infrequently domains vocation n 14 politics n 3 sex role values n 2 relationship n 3 domains transition resulted significant loss critical life event husband i came back new zealand europe i went severe depression i couldn t continue work hospitalized sense freedom i europe back i felt completely stifled sea 46 year old female teacher married three children 488 j kroger k e green domain religion transition diffusion foreclosure achievement uncommon increased likelihood occurrence age kroger haslett 1991 internal change notably disillusionment perceived hypocrisy church gradual waning interest religious spiritual matters exposure new social cultural contexts events commonly associated transition diffusion status accounting respectively 65 32 transitions i fairly orthodox upbringing i brought anglican server i went university i time i went church marriage work family i left religion religion doesn t meaning visit parents i take church 42 year old male radiologist married two children discussion conclusions present research undertaken purpose exploring types situational contextual variables associated transition identity formation process adolescence middle adulthood understanding relationship contextual variables process identity development remains largely unexamined research identity formation evidence research social psychology literature situational variables broad limits probable behaviours personality variables largely explain individual responses broader limits e g stewart 1980 flanagan 1990 question remains types events situational contexts retain commonalities ability facilitate deter identity development general findings present study indicate seven event types investigation differentially associated domains identity development identity status transitions commitment political sex role ideology appear strongly linked age graded history graded demands larger social context respectively adoption values important intimate relationship strongly linked influence significant societal expectations supports types identity defining commitments primarily responsible identity status transitions earlier age spans movement foreclosure identity status important findings emerge study strong role internal change processes play transitions identity statuses identity domains changes perspective important new awareness clear links external presses associated half two thirds identity status changes domains 20 year follow women first interviewed senior year college josselson personal communication 13 july 1995 similarly reports major revisions identity primarily associated internal change processes new ways thinking self new realizations recognitions internal changes propel individuals new external contexts forms relatedness impetus change participants present investigation josselson rested initially internal processes processes greater sense openness experience dissatisfaction 489 events identity status change disillusionment present circumstances desire reintegrate mid adult life earlier identity elements left present research demonstrated identity domains event type identity status change strongly associated demographic variables identity status change demographic variables event type actual frequencies durations identity status transitions shown great variation choice life style i e balance chosen family percentage time paid employment adulthood kroger haslett 1987 1991 types events actually associated identity status transitions appear differ identity domains major demographic variables sex age group education level marital parental status time paid employment work pattern appear associated weakly identity status transitions compared impact major life events internal change processes exposure new contexts taken findings provide support notion social circumstance broad limits probable behaviours individual personality variables play key role predicting course identity development young middle adulthood years stewart 1980 grotevant 1987 factors degree openness experience ego resilience self esteem cognitive complexity serve mediate external presses identity formation process grotevant 1987 tesch cameron 1987 marcia et al 1993 berzonsky kinney 1994 erikson 1959 noted different individuals different contextual opportunities process personal identity development major identity revisions adolescence occur frequently direct response contextual events demands association internal change processes relationship contextual situational variables identity formation process remains complex present study provides beginning identifying events primarily associated identity status change identity domain sample mid life new zealand adults future research fruitfully detail ways contextual variables interact individual personality variables determine course identity formation process greater attention mutual complementation ethos ego group identity ego identity enrich understandings ego synthesis social organization acknowledgements research assistance rita chung gillian fleming nerys parry beverly rhodes gratefully acknowledged special thanks go education department victoria university wellington financial support research individuals volunteered time life histories investigation undertaken 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