Essays Identity Achievement

However, closure can also be achieved by individuals without the need for experimentation, this is thought to occur a result of their caregivers smothering the; not allowing sufficient exploration, thus resulting in the individual achieving closure by simply accepting the identity offered to him/ her by their caregivers, Erikson termed this ‘foreclosure’.However, not all individuals achieve closure at this stage; in this instance an individual may be referred to as diffuse, or in a stage of moratorium (this is a state which refers to a temporary phase of development on the way to achieving identity).

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The ninth stage also sees a reversal of crises, as the negative pole now takes dominance over the positive.

Erikson’s psychosocial stages are an elaboration upon the three stages Freud proposed, which cease post-adolescence.

This appears to demonstrate that the accumulation of past virtues having an influence on future crises’ is dependent on ethnicity.

Ochse & Plug also found that male participants showed a stronger autonomy, industry and initiative compared to female participants, which suggests that the theory is affected by gender roles.

Marcia (1980) has hailed achievement status in the fifth stage as a hallmark for maturity in individuals.

The virtue of ‘fidelity’ is the achievement in the fifth stage.

One study which has has also provided significant findings relating to the theory (Ochse & Plug, 1986).

It is worth noting that the eighth stage which holds the possibility of achievement of the virtue ‘integrity’ was omitted from the results of this study due to the lack of elderly participants in the research.

If a balanced resolution (good balance of the crisis poles) is achieved at this stage in the theory an individual is confident that the sameness and continuity they have gathered in the achievement of virtues in the four previous stages are all recognised by others. On the other hand, poor resolution (too much of either the positive or the negative crisis poles) achieved at this stage is considered to be maladaptive for an individual; fidelity to future roles will become either too strong or not strong enough.

This results in the individual having fidelity to their future roles (i. Cote (1996) has disputed Erikson’s and Marcia’s claims that the sameness and continuity in the adolescent stage is the distinguishing feature of a mature individual.


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