Adolescent Identity Development
Adolescents Moral/Identity Development
There are four categories of identity status when adolescents start their identity formation process: Diffusion, Moratorium, Foreclosure and Achievement.
These categories are mainly formed based on Erikson’s conceptualization of the development of identity viewed as a task requiring exploration of worldly possibilities and that might ultimately lead to mature commitments to certain areas, such as religious belief, world and political views, career choice, and sexual preference. Therefore each status category can be best explained in terms of a either the presence or the absence of exploration and commitment.
Diffusion is first off. In this stage the individual lacks both exploration and commitment. This is natural to expect as adolescents have just started their journey into the process of identity formation.
Individuals in Moratorium exhibit sign of exploration in trying to find out available options and evaluating pros and cons. However, a clear lack of commitment, characterizes this category. Individuals are busy investigating and are on the path of making commitments at a later stage.
Individuals who make commitments with very little or no exploration of alternatives, typically by picking up other’s convictions such as parents are in the Foreclosure category. Both foreclosure and diffusion categories contain individuals who might be committed to a cause or belief under the influence of others and circumstances.
Individuals who have made ultimate choices, and settled on a selection of beliefs and ideas for the Achievement category. These adolescents have adequately explored and finally committed to a set of beliefs with which they seem to be comfortable. These beliefs might be modified as needed by time but by and large these individuals exhibit stability and general psychological wellness.