Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Family, Consumer, and Human Development


Randall M. Jones


While Erikson's psychosocial theory continues to dominate theoretical explanations of adolescent identity development. Marcia's ego identity status paradigm has become the primary basis to empirically measure such notions. Though Marcia's paradigm has its roots in psychosocial theory. questions have surfaced regarding the communality of Marcia's and Erikson's notions on identity. Issues of scope. connectedness. definition. terminology. and measurement have marked a potential divergence among the two approaches-views which until recently seemed almost unified. This study addressed the relationship between Erikson's psychosocial theory and Marcia's ego identity status paradigm. By administering identity and psychosocial stage-specific measures to a sample of college-age adolescents. an assessment of the empirical relationship between the two theories has been established.

A general pattern was found that the highest levels of psychosocial trust. autonomy. initiative. and industry were reported by the achieved respondents, followed by the foreclosed, moratorium, and diffused respondents, respectively. Discriminant analysis also identified specific psychosocial differences between statuses. The achieved respondents reported higher levels of trust. autonomy, initiative. and industry than moratoriums: significantly higher levels of autonomy and industry than the foreclosed: and significantly higher levels of trust and initiative. and significantly lower levels of guilt when compared to diffused respondents. Moratoriums reported significantly higher levels of emotional autonomy and significantly lower levels of trust and initiative than foreclosed respondents. Moratoriums did report significantly higher initiative and lower guilt than the diffused. Foreclosed respondents reported significantly higher initiative and lower autonomy than diffused persons. These results provide significant-albeit initial----quantitative evidence that Marcia's ego identity status paradigm corresponds both specifically and broadly to Erikson's theory of identity development.