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The Ego Identity Status Approach To Ego Identity

J. Marcia
Published 1993 · Psychology

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The formation of an ego identity is a major event in the development of personality. Occurring during late adolescence, the consolidation of identity marks the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. Identity formation involves a synthesis of childhood skills, beliefs, and identifications into a more or less coherent, unique whole that provides the young adult with both a sense of continuity with the past and a direction for the future.1 As an inner organization, identity may be compared with those psychological structures posited by cognitive developmental theorists, notably Piaget (Inhelder & Piaget, 1958). Identity differs from Piagetian structures, however, in that it is content- as well as process-based. Whereas Piagetian structures are primarily procedures for operating on experience, identity comprises both procedural styles and elements of content. More simply, identity, as a structure, refers to how experience is handled as well as to what experiences are considered important.



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