Sex Roles

, Volume 60, Issue 11–12, pp 832–842 | Cite as

The Feminist Identity Development Model: Relevant for Young Women Today?

  • Mindy J. ErchullEmail author
  • Miriam Liss
  • Katherine A. Wilson
  • Lindsey Bateman
  • Ashleigh Peterson
  • Clare E. Sanchez
Original Article


We explored whether the Downing and Roush model of feminist identity development is relevant for young women today. Two-hundred seventeen older and younger feminists and non-feminists were recruited on a college campus and online in the United States. They completed, online, the Feminist Identity Composite and reported whether they would have endorsed items for each stage more strongly in the past. Qualitative data was collected about prior stage experience. Older feminists scored higher in active commitment, and younger feminists scored higher in revelation. Feminist self-identification did not relate to synthesis scores, and young women high in synthesis did not report much prior stage experience. We postulate that synthesis is a starting point for young women, rather than an ending point.


Feminist self-identification Feminist identity development Feminist identity composite (FIC) Second wave feminism Synthesis 



The authors wish to thank their undergraduate research assistants, Jaime Pimsler and Filla Baliwag, who worked extensively on the coding of the qualitative data included in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mindy J. Erchull
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miriam Liss
    • 1
  • Katherine A. Wilson
    • 1
  • Lindsey Bateman
    • 1
  • Ashleigh Peterson
    • 1
  • Clare E. Sanchez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Mary WashingtonFredericksburgUSA

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