, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 605-618

Identity Statuses Based on 4 Rather Than 2 Identity Dimensions: Extending and Refining Marcia's Paradigm

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Abstract

Four identity dimensions (Commitment Making, Identification with Commitment, Exploration in Depth, and Exploration in Breadth) were used to derive identity statuses by means of cluster analysis in a sample of late adolescents. This strategy resulted in both a qualitative refinement and a quantitative extension of Marcia's (1966) model. Five clusters were retained. Four of those (the Achievement, Moratorium, Foreclosure, and Diffused Diffusion Cluster) bore a striking resemblance to Marcia's original identity statuses in terms of their definition and their associations with criterion variables. Adolescents in the fifth cluster, the Carefree Diffusion Cluster (low to moderate on both commitment dimensions and low on both exploration dimensions), scored as high as the 2 high Commitment Making clusters (i.e., the Achievement and Foreclosure Cluster) on several indicators of adjustment. Personality characteristics further differentiated these clusters in accordance with theory. The advantages of expanding the identity status paradigm, through additional distinctions that pertain to both commitment and exploration, are discussed and practical implications are outlined.

Doctoral Researcher for the Special Research Fund (B.O.F.)—Flanders (Belgium). Current research focuses on adolescent identity formation and development.
Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology, Catholic University Leuven, Belgium. Received PhD in developmental psychology from the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium, 1988. Current research interests include adolescent identity, autonomy, and loneliness.
Doctoral Researcher for the Fund of Scientific Research (F.W.O.)—Flanders (Belgium) at the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium. Research interests include parent–adolescent relationships, identity processes, and acculturation orientations of ethnic minority members.
Postdoctoral Researcher for the Fund of Scientific Research (F.W.O.)—Flanders (Belgium). Received PhD in developmental psychology from the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium, 2001. Current research focuses on adolescent autonomy, parenting and mediators of parenting effects on individuation and identity.
Doctoral Researcher for the Fund of Scientific Research (F.W.O.)—Flanders (Belgium) at the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium. Research interests include motivational processes, self-determination theory, parent–adolescent relationships, and identity processes.