Ego Identity Status, Identity Style, and Personal Expressiveness: An Empirical Investigation of Three Convergent Constructs

Topics: Identity formation, Social status, Identity Pages: 24 (6844 words) Published: October 28, 2014
Ego Identity Status, Identity Style, and Personal Expressiveness: An Empirical Investigation of Three Convergent Constructs
Seth J. Schwartz
Florida International University
Ronald L. Mullis
Florida State University
Alan S. Waterman
The College of New Jersey
Richard M. Dunham
Florida State University
This study represents an investigation of relationships among three sets of identity con- structs, including the ego identity statuses, the identity styles, and personal expressive- ness. The Ego Identity Process Questionnaire was used to assess identity status as con- ceptualized by J. E. Marcia. The Identity Style Inventory was used to assess identity style as conceptualized by M. D. Berzonsky. The Personally Expressive Activities Question- naire was used to measure feelings of personal expressiveness as described by A. S. Waterman. Data were collected from two samples of students at two universities. The measures were considered in pairs to examine the convergence among the constructs. Results revealed that these three measures, and perhaps the underlying constructs, are convergent. Associations between measures are discussed in relation to previous research and theory. Erikson (1968) posited ego identity as the personality component under- going a time of special ascendancy during the adolescent years. He described ego identity as serving a variety of functions including sameness over time, inner coherence, the synthesis of successive identifications, and protection against experiences of sudden discontinuities occasioned by biological development or changes in life circumstances. Erikson placed identity as one Correspondence and reprint requests should be addressed to Seth J. Schwartz, Department of Psychology, DM 256, Florida International University, University Park Campus, Miami, FL 33199; e-mail: Journal of Adolescent Research, Vol. 15 No. 4, July 2000 504-521 504 

pole on a dimension pertaining to self-knowledge, which extended to identity confusion as the opposite pole. Whereas Erikson wrote on identity in primary theoretical and clinical terms, Marcia’s (1966) ego identity status paradigm was the first approach to the operationalization of identity to gain acceptance for purposes of the sys- tematic study of identity under circumstances of normative socialization. Marcia (1993) estimated that in the first 25 years of identity research, more than 300 studies had been conducted. There is an extensive body of research literature demonstrating the discriminant validity of the identity statuses (Marcia, Waterman, Matteson, Archer, & Orlofsky, 1993; Meuss, 1996). Within the past decade, however, there have been numerous efforts to broaden or reformulate the conceptualization of identity formation. Most of these efforts have built on the identity status paradigm, although they have differed in the extent to which the reconceptualizations are compatible with the original paradigm. These approaches include the work of Berzonsky (1989), Côté (1996), Kurtines (1999), Meuss (1996), and Waterman (1992). The present study was undertaken to evaluate the extent of association between measures derived from Marcia’s (1966, 1993) ego identity status paradigm, Berzonsky’s (1989, 1993) identity style paradigm, and Waterman’s (1990, 1992) conceptualization of personally expressive identity functioning. Marcia: The Ego Identity Status Paradigm

Marcia (1966), working from Erikson’s ego-analytic writings, identified two dimensions in the process of identity formation: exploration and com- mitment. Exploration involves the active consideration of alternative possi- ble identity elements in a quest for a more complete sense of self, whereas commitment represents a decision to adhere to a specific set of goals, values, and beliefs, whether self-initiated or adapted from others. Based on these two dimensions, Marcia (1966) derived four identity sta- tuses, each of...

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