Presentation on theme: "A Program of Research on Identity: Extension, Expansion, and Integration Seth J. Schwartz, Ph.D. University of Miami Invited Colloquium at Universiteit."— Presentation transcript:
A Program of Research on Identity: Extension, Expansion, and Integration Seth J. Schwartz, Ph.D. University of Miami Invited Colloquium at Universiteit Utrecht June 10, 2009
WHAT IS IDENTITY? The term identity has been used in the social sciences for more than 60 years (cf. Erikson, 1950). Research on identity has increased greatly in the past years. This is clear from the numbers of journal articles, book chapters, and doctoral dissertations published between 1960 and 2009:
YearsNumber of Records ,118 WHAT IS IDENTITY? Source: PsycInfo psychological literature database. *As of June 5, , , *30,972
WHAT IS IDENTITY? Unfortunately, however, the term identity is used to mean many different things – so much so that some writers have suggested that we stop using this word altogether (Brubaker & Cooper, 2000; Gergen, 1991). My colleagues and I have adopted a different solution – come up with a set of shared definitions about what identity is and how it functions (e.g., Schwartz, 2001, 2007; Schwartz, Montgomery, & Briones, 2006; Schwartz, Zamboanga, & Weisskirch, 2008). We have done this in the personal identity literature – which I will focus on today – and we are starting to do this across different identity literatures as well (Schwartz, Luyckx, & Vignoles, in progress).
ERIKSON ON IDENTITY One of the first theorists to focus on identity was Erik Erikson (1950, 1968). Erikson noticed that the adolescent years were often characterized by a search for who one is (or will be) in areas such as religious beliefs, career choice, and politics. He noticed that young people who were able to answer these questions were most likely to report positive individual functioning (e.g., self-esteem, life purpose). However, young people who struggled with identity issues often exhibited problems such as depression and anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and unstable relationships with others.
ERIKSON ON IDENTITY So, briefly, Eriksons view of identity focuses primarily on two components: Identity synthesis represents how much I know about myself, as well as the extent to which the different parts of who I am fit together; Identity confusion represents a lack of knowledge about myself, or a poor fit between or among the different parts of who I am.
ERIKSON ON IDENTITY One of my goals in my work has been to test these ideas empirically. But first, it is necessary to decide how Eriksons theory of identity will be operationalized, in terms of the relationship between identity synthesis and identity confusion. There are two very different ways in which this might be done:
ERIKSON ON IDENTITY 1. Identity as a dimension between identity synthesis and identity confusion: IDENTITY SYNTHESIS IDENTIITY CONFUSION In this interpretation of Erikson, any person can be placed somewhere on this axis. People who are close to identity synthesis will likely believe that they know all that there is to know about themselves, and they may not be open to new ideas.
IDENTITY SYNTHESIS IDENTITY CONFUSION ERIKSON ON IDENTITY People who are close to identity confusion will be unsure of themselves and will make inconsistent (and poor) choices. So it might be said that the best place to be is toward the middle of the axis, but somewhat closer to identity synthesis.
ERIKSON ON IDENTITY 2. A second way to look at Eriksons theory is with synthesis and confusion as separate but related dimensions: To the extent to which synthesis predominates over confusion, the person will be more positively adjusted. ConfusionSynthesis
ERIKSON ON IDENTITY 2. A second way to look at Eriksons theory is with synthesis and confusion as separate but related dimensions: To the extent to which confusion predominates over synthesis, the person will be less well adjusted. SynthesisConfusion
AN EMPIRICAL TEST My colleagues and I were interested in seeing which of these models would fit the data best. We (Schwartz, Zamboanga, Wang, & Olthuis, 2009) administered the Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory (EPSI; Rosenthal, Gurney, & Moore, 1981) to 337 students at a large, urban, ethnically diverse university in Miami. The EPSI consists of 12 items – 6 worded toward synthesis, and 6 worded toward confusion.
AN EMPIRICAL TEST (1) A 1-factor model where identity synthesis and confusion loaded on a single identity factor; We tested three models against one another: Identity SYNTHESIS ITEMS CONFUSION ITEMS +-
AN EMPIRICAL TEST (2) A 2-factor model where identity synthesis and confusion were cast as separate factors; We tested three models against one another: Synthesis Confusion SYNTHESIS ITEMS CONFUSION ITEMS
(3) A bifactor model representing a combination of the 1 and 2 factor models (Chen, West, & Sousa, 2006; Quilty, Oakman, & Risko, 2006). We tested three models against one another: AN EMPIRICAL TEST Identity SYNTHESIS ITEMS CONFUSION ITEMS SynthesisConfusion
Results indicated that the bifactor model provided the best fit to the data (Schwartz et al., 2009). AN EMPIRICAL TEST This finding suggests that identity development, from an Eriksonian perspective, consists of developing an overall positive sense of self, while balancing identity synthesis with identity confusion. We also found that the bifactor model fit equivalently across gender and across ethnicity (Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics). Source: Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., Wang, W., & Olthuis, J. V. (2009). Measuring identity from an Eriksonian perspective: Two sides of the same coin? Journal of Personality Assessment, 91,
EXTENDING ERIKSONS THEORY OF IDENTITY A number of theorists have attempted to extract empirically testable models and hypotheses from Eriksons work. The most successful and long-lasting of these has been Marcias (1966, 1980, 1993) identity status model. Marcia extracted from Eriksons work the dimensions of exploration and commitment. Exploration refers to sorting through various possible identity alternatives (Grotevant, 1987); and Commitment refers to selecting one or more identity alternatives to which one will adhere (Bosma, 1992; Marcia, 1988).
THE IDENTITY STATUS MODEL Marcia divided exploration and commitment into high and low levels and crossed them to derive four identity statuses: Commitment Exploration LOWHIGH LOW HIGH MoratoriumAchievement DiffusionForeclosure
THE IDENTITY STATUS MODEL The identity status model has received its share of criticism from a number of authors, including myself (e.g., Côté & Levine, 1988; Schwartz, 2001; van Hoof, 1999). The primary criticisms have included the following: 1. Diffusion represents identity confusion, and achievement represents identity synthesis, but it is not clear what foreclosure and moratorium represent (Côté & Levine, 2002); 2. The spirit of Eriksons theory – especially the benefits of identity synthesis – are not captured by identity status (van Hoof, 1999);
THE IDENTITY STATUS MODEL 3. The model may assume a very Western viewpoint – that exploration followed by commitment is the best way to develop a sense of self. Much of my work on personal identity has gone into extending and expanding the model to address these issues. In virtually all of my work, I have used multi-ethnic samples and have examined the consistency of results across gender and across ethnicity. This is especially important given that much of the personal identity literature has used primarily White, European-descent samples (Sneed, Schwartz, & Cross, 2006).
EXTENDING THE IDENTITY STATUS MODEL In the past 20 years, a number of newer models have been introduced to supplement or extend the identity status model (Schwartz, 2001). One of these models has been identity style (Berzonsky, 1989) – a social-cognitive, decision-making approach to identity development: Individuals in moratorium and achievement are assumed to utilize an informational, problem-solving approach; Individuals in foreclosure are assumed to utilize a norm-based, conforming approach; and Individuals in diffusion are assumed to utilize an avoidance- based, procrastinating approach.
EXTENDING THE IDENTITY STATUS MODEL I (Schwartz, 2001) and others (e.g., Berzonsky & Neimeyer, 1994) have proposed that the identity styles represent some of the processes that underlie the identity statuses. My colleagues and I (Schwartz, Côté, & Arnett, 2005) conducted a study evaluating this – as well as evaluating Eriksons hypothesis (also proposed by Côté, 2000) that agency and self-direction help to facilitate identity development. We used measures of exploration and commitment (the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire; Balistreri et al., 1995), continuous measures of the identity statuses (the Extended Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status; Bennion & Adams, 1986), and the Identity Style Inventory (Berzonsky, 1997) to index identity.
Agentic Personality Exploration/ Flexible Commitment Closure/ Conformity Avoidance.61 *** -.25 ** *** -.54 *** Source: Schwartz, S. J., Côté, J. E., & Arnett, J. J. (2005). Identity and agency in emerging adulthood: Two developmental routes in the individualization process. Youth and Society, 37,
EXTENDING THE IDENTITY STATUS MODEL Again, our model fit the data equally across Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics – suggesting that agency, identity exploration, and identity commitment are equally important across U.S. ethnic groups.
THE TWO FACES OF IDENTITY EXPLORATION Within the identity status model, exploration is hypothesized as the mechanism through which identity is formed. Exploration has been associated with openness and curiosity (Berman, Schwartz, Kurtines, & Berman, 2001; Luyckx, Goossens, & Soenens, 2006). However, identity exploration – and especially the moratorium status – have been associated with anxiety, depression, and poor well-being (Kidwell et al., 1995; Meeus et al., 1999).
THE TWO FACES OF IDENTITY EXPLORATION Entering the moratorium status implies that the person has suspended or discarded her/his existing commitments. There is evidence that identity commitments help to anchor the person and to promote well-being (Luyckx, Schwartz, Goossens, & Pollock, 2008) – suggesting that suspending or dropping commitments may create distress. From an Eriksonian perspective, discarding commitments may invite identity confusion – suggesting that the negative side effects of moratorium may result from identity confusion.
THE TWO FACES OF IDENTITY EXPLORATION Using a sample of 905 emerging-adult students from five U.S. universities, my colleagues and I (Schwartz, Zamboanga, Weisskirch, & Rodriguez, 2009) examined the role of identity confusion in the relationship of identity exploration to well- being, distress, and deviant attitudes (impulsivity and tolerance for deviant behavior). We also looked separately at present and past exploration – because exploration that is ongoing may have different effects than exploration that occurred in the past and has stopped. We also examined ethnic identity exploration as well as personal identity exploration – but we will not get into that here.
Present Exploration Past Exploration Ethnic Id. Exploration Well-BeingInternalizing Symptoms Self- Esteem Purpose in Life Internal Locus of Control Ego Strength Deviant Attitudes DepressionAnxietyImpulsivityTolerance for Deviance.81 ***.84 ***.53 ***.71 ***.99 ***.84 ***.42 ***.61 *** Identity Confusion EOM-EIS-II Diffusion Identity Confusion Inventory EPSI Identity Confusion.39 ***.87 ***.80 ***.66 *** -.25 *** -.10 **.68 ***.52 *** -.78 ***
THE TWO FACES OF IDENTITY EXPLORATION Our findings indicated that: 1. Past and present identity exploration showed opposing relationships to identity confusion, and indirectly to well-being, distress/internalizing, and deviant attitudes; 2. Identity confusion strongly mediated these relationships; and 3. Findings were consistent across Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. We concluded that the differences in past versus present exploration could be explained in terms of commitment – when the exploration process stops, commitments may be made.
THE TWO FACES OF IDENTITY EXPLORATION Subsequent research conducted in Belgium has supported these conclusions: Identity commitments represent the demarcation between emerging adulthood and full adulthood (Luyckx et al., 2008); Commitments are strongly associated with well-being and protective against distress (Luyckx, Schwartz, Soenens, Vansteenkiste, & Goossens, in press).
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION Most recently, I have developed the construct of identity consolidation. Identity consolidation represents what young people need to achieve in order to have the best chance of succeeding in the Western world. Identity consolidation includes indicators of successful identity development, including: Identity synthesis (Erikson) Identity commitments (Marcia) Identity achieved status (Marcia)
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION Belief that one has reached adulthood (Côté/Arnett) Having found a supportive community (e.g., partner, friends) (Côté)
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION In a validation study, I (Schwartz, 2007) found that the indicators of identity consolidation were strongly correlated. I grouped these indicators into latent variables – identity synthesis, identity commitment/achievement, and subjective adulthood:
In the Schwartz (2007) study, despite the high correlations among the three dimensions of identity consolidation, they were correlated differently with psychosocial functioning variables: VariableIdentity Consolidation Dimension Identity Synthesis Commitment/ Achievement Subjective Adulthood Agency/Subjective Well-Being.97 ***.80 ***.69 *** Internalizing/Distress-.74 *** -.35 *** -.19 * Deviant Attitudes-.61 *** -.38 *** -.05
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR Recently, my colleagues and I (Schwartz, Forthun, et al., in press) returned to one of Eriksons core propositions – that a synthesized sense of identity would protect the person against health risk behaviors. In the United States, and in many other Western countries, emerging adulthood (ages 18-25) is associated with the greatest prevalence of heavy alcohol use, illegal drug use, unsafe sexual behavior, and drunk driving (Chou et al., 2005; Kolek, 2006; Slutske et al., 2005; Whitten, 2008).
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR We gathered data from 1,546 students at 9 colleges and universities around the United States. Identity consolidation was measured in the same way as in Schwartz (2007), except that commitment/achievement was measured using the Dimensions of Identity Development Scale (Luyckx et al., 2008) – commitment making and identification with commitment.
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR We asked about several health risk behaviors: Alcohol and Drug Use Binge drinking (5+ drinks in a row for men, 4+ for women); Marijuana use; Hard drug use (cocaine, crack, ecstasy, methamphetamines); Inhalant use (glue, shoe polish, lighter fluid); Prescription drug misuse (any use not ordered by a doctor);
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR We asked about several health risk behaviors: Unsafe Sexual Behavior Unprotected Sex (sex without a condom); Casual Sex (sex with someone known for less than 1 day); Oral Sex; Anal Sex; Sex While Drunk or on Drugs
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR We asked about several health risk behaviors: Risky Driving Driving While Drunk or on Drugs; Riding with a Drunk Driver For each of these behaviors, we asked how many times the person had engaged in the behavior in the past month.
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR The models that we estimated took the following form: Identity Consolidation Health Risk Behaviors
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR Responses to these health risk behaviors followed a Poisson distribution. For example:
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR In some cases, however, the frequency distribution was even more heavily dominated by zeroes:
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR As a result, we used multivariate Poisson regression for those behaviors endorsed by 25% or more of the sample; and we used zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP) regression for those behaviors endorsed by less than 25% of the sample. In a ZIP model, the count variable is split into two parts: (1) A yes/no indicator telling us whether the person engaged in the behavior; and (2) A count indicator telling us how many times the person engaged in the behavior. For those people who did not engage in the behavior, the count variable is specified as missing.
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR Results for Poisson and ZIP models are written as odds ratios (OR) and incidence rate ratios (IRR). OR is for yes/no variables, and IRR is for count variables. For both OR and IRR: The null hypothesis is OR/IRR = 1. Values above 1 indicate a positive relationship. Values between 0 and 1 indicate a negative relationship. If the OR or IRR is significant, the 95% confidence interval cannot include 1.
Risk BehaviorIdentity Consolidation OR/IRR Binge Drinking.97 * (.95 to.99) Marijuana Use.87 *** (.81 to.93) Hard Drug Use b Yes/No Count.65 ** (.47 to.90).98 (.90 to 1.06) Inhalant Use b Yes/No Count.67 * (.47 to.95).97 (.87 to 1.07) Prescription Drug Misuse b Yes/No Count.61 *** ( ) 1.02 (.92 to 1.12)
Risk BehaviorIdentity Consolidation OR/IRR Unprotected Sex.94 * ( ) Oral Sex.98 ( ) Anal Sex b Yes/No Count 1.00 ( ).98 ( ) Casual Sex b Yes/No Count.96 * ( ) 1.02 ( ) Sex While Drunk/High.92 * ( ) Driving While Drunk/High b Yes/No Count.81 * ( ).94 ( ) Riding With Impaired Driver.89 *** ( )
IDENTITY CONSOLIDATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOR These results suggest that identity consolidation is most protective against illegal drug use and against drunk driving and riding with a drunk driver. Identity consolidation is less protective against sexual risks – especially oral and anal sex. Source: Schwartz, S. J., Forthun, L. F., Ravert, R. D., Zamboanga, B. L., Rodriguez, L., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., Filton, B. J., Kim, S. Y., Rodriguez, L., Weisskirch, R. S., Vernon, M., Shneyderman, Y., Williams, M. K., Agocha, V. B., & Hudson, M. (in press). The protective role of identity consolidation against health risk behaviors in college-attending emerging adults. American Journal of Health Behavior.