Adolescent Identity
Development: Who We Are
Alana Butler
May 2010
Cornell University Family Life Development Center,
Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, New York State Center for School Safety,
University of Rochester Medical Center Div. of Adolescent Health
Learning Objectives
In this presentation, you will learn how to:
Define identity.
Distinguish between self-identity and social-identity.
Identify the tasks and “statuses” of adolescent
identity development.
Recognize the importance of identity development
for youth.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
What is Identity?
Our sense of who we are.
Sense of belonging to a
social category.
Dynamic, complex; changes
over time.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Self-Identity vs. Social Identity
Self-identity is how you
see yourself.
Social identity is how
others see you.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Each of us has multiple identities that may
be more or less important depending on the
context we find ourselves in.
Gender identity
Religious identity
Racial identity
Ethnic identity
National identity
Generational identity
Sexual identity
Political identity
Regional identity
Professional identity
Cultural identity
Class identity
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Our Multiple Identities
Jasneet:
Celebrates the Indian
festival of Diwali with
her extended family.
Celebrates American
holidays with her peers
from high school.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Which identities did you juggle as you grew up?
A) Gender identity
B) Sexual identity
C) Religious identity
D) Racial identity
E) Ethnic identity
F) National identity
G) Generational identity
Submit
Clear
Erikson’s Theory of
Psychosocial Development
Psychosocial development
proceeds in 8 stages, called
crises.
Adolescents experience the
fifth stage, called Identity vs.
Identity Diffusion.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Erikson
Identity vs. Identity Diffusion
An adolescent in this stage may achieve a
secure identity or identity diffusion, which is
an insecure sense of self.
The key to resolving identity vs. identity
diffusion lies in the adolescent’s interaction
with others.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
According to Erikson, adolescents typically experience the fifth
stage, identity vs. identity diffusion, between which ages?
A) 10-13
B) 12-16
C) 12-18
D) 10-20
The answer is C) 12-18.
Click anywhere to continue
Correct - Click anywhere to
continue
Submit
Clear
Marcia’s Identity Development Status
Identified four “identity
statuses.”
These statuses occur
anytime during adolescence.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Marcia
Status 1: Identity Diffusion
Identity Diffusion: low commitment to a
particular identity.
We may not think about a particular identity
until we experience a crisis or are otherwise
compelled to adopt an identity.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Scenario: Identity Diffusion
Jason
Graduating in the
following semester.
Has not thought about
what he wants to do after
graduation and has not
explored college or
job prospects.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Marcia
Status 2: Identity Foreclosure
A commitment to an identity
without a crisis.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Scenario: Identity Foreclosure
Jennifer
Passionate about music.
Parents expect her to follow in
their footsteps.
Enters pre-med college
program.
Abandons musical interests.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Marcia
Status 3: Identity Moratorium
In the midst of a crisis, searching for an
identity to adopt.
Can create conflict between adolescents
and their authority figures.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Scenario: Identity Moratorium
Samantha
Raised Catholic
Reading about other religions
Attended a Buddhist temple and
has also attended a synagogue.
Unsure which religion, if any,
she wants to follow.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Marcia
Status 4: Identity Achievement
Identity is said to be achieved when the
adolescent has undergone a crisis
(exploration) and now made a
commitment to a particular identity.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Scenario: Identity Achievement
Richard
Reads about vegan diets
Consults nutritionist
Become vegan; has been
a vegan for three years and
is secure in his identity.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Identity and Self-Esteem
A positive self-identity is connected to
positive self-esteem!
Having a social identity that is devalued
will affect overall self-esteem
Reinforcing positive social identity
development is very important.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Our Identities: In Conclusion
Self-identities and social-identities may not only
be different but may also confer privilege.
Statuses in adolescent identity development
change over time.
Our many identities may intersect and cannot
be separated from each other in our minds.
Identity is a very important aspect for our
self-esteem.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Was this presentation useful? Please give us your feedback:
http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22AEZWMYJH3
The ACT for Youth Center of Excellence connects positive youth
development resources and research to practice in New York State and
beyond. The Center provides:
Technical support, training, and evaluation for youth-serving
programs funded by the NYS Department of Health.
Youth Development resources: www.actforyouth.net,
publications, training and events, and the e-letter ACT for Youth
Update. Email [email protected] to subscribe.
A home base for the ACT Youth Network. Visit the network at
www.nysyouth.net
ACT for Youth Center of Excellence
[email protected] • 607-255-7736 • http://www.actforyouth.net
Web Resources
Child Development Institute: Stages of Social-Emotional Development In Children and Teenagers
http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/development/erickson.shtml
Identity Formation Wiki
http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Identity_formation
Identity Crisis - Theory and Research
http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/identitycrisis.htm
Ethics of Identity
http://www.philosophytalk.org/pastShows/EthicsofIdentity.htm
Social Psychology Compass: Articles related to Identity in database
http://www.blackwell-compass.com/subject/socialpsychology/
General Psychology Resources
http://www.thepsychfiles.com/
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010
Resources: Books
Abrams, D., & Hogg, M. A. (1999). Social identity theory and social cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.
Blackman, S. J. (1995).Youth--positions and oppositions. Style, sexuality, and schooling. Aldershot ,
Brookfield, VT: Avebury.
Cieslik, M., & Pollock, G. (Eds.). (2002). Young people in risk society. The restructuring of youth identities
and transitions in late modernity. Burlington,VT: Ashgate.
Cornbleth, C. (2003). Hearing America's youth. Social identities in uncertain times. New York: Peter Lang.
Epstein, J. S. (Ed.). (1998).Youth culture: Identity in a postmodern world. Oxford: Blackwell.
Muñoz, C. (1989).Youth, identity, power. The Chicano movement. New York: Verso.
Roche, J., & Tucker, S. (Eds.). (1997). Youth in society: Contemporary theory, policy and practice.
London: Sage.
Savin-Williams, R. C. (1990). Gay and lesbian youth. Expressions of identity. New York: Hemisphere.
Weis, L., & Fine, M. (2000). Construction sites. Excavating race, class, and gender among urban youth.
New York: Teachers College Press.
Adolescent Identity Development
Alana Butler • May 2010