Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 223–251

The state of research on ego identity: A review and appraisal

Part I
  • Edmund Bourne


Considerable research on ego identity has appeared over the past 15 years, indicating the need for an overall review. Part I commences by considering the complexity of Erikson's concept and suggesting several different theoretical contexts in which it has been used. The validity of investigators' attempts to operationalize the concept “ego identity” is assumed to depend in part upon their interpretations of its meaning. The subsequent review of empirical literature is organized according to different procedures which have been used to measure ego identity. A first section summarizes and evaluates research utilizing Q-sort and self-report questionnaire measures, while a second considers the large number of investigations that have employed James Marcia's Identity Status Interview. The latter group of studies are ordered according to the type of dependent variable (e.g., cognitive, behavioral, personality, developmental) examined in relation to ego identity status (i.e., achievement, moratorium, foreclosure, diffusion). Part II of the review, to appear in the next issue of this journal, will recapitulate the identity status literature, present an overall evaluation of the identity status paradigm, and suggest a number of issues for future research.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmund Bourne

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