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Erikson’s Theory: Identity vs.

 Infant  Adolescent
Trust vs Mistrust Identity vs Role Confusion
Needs maximum comfort with minimal Tries integrating many roles (child, sibling,
uncertainty to trust himself/herself, student, athlete, worker) into a self-image
others, and the environment under role model and peer pressure
Emotional and Social  Toddler  Young Adult

Development in Adolescence Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt

Works to master physical environment
Intimacy vs Isolation
Learns to make personal commitment to
while maintaining self-esteem another as spouse, parent or partner
PSY 222
 Preschooler  Middle-Age Adult

Spring 2018 Initiative vs Guilt

Begins to initiate, not imitate, activities;
Generativity vs Stagnation
Seeks satisfaction through productivity in
develops conscience and sexual identity career, family, and civic interests

 School-Age Child  Older Adult

Industry vs Inferiority Integrity vs Despair
Tries to develop a sense of self-worth by Reviews life accomplishments, deals with loss
refining skills and preparation for death

Erikson’s Theory: Erikson’s Theory:

Identity vs. Role Confusion Identity vs. Role Confusion
Identity Role Confusion
 Defining who you are,  Earlier psychosocial  Not necessarily a «crisis»
what you value, and conflicts not resolved  For most young people, identity
your direction in life  Society restricts development is not traumatic and
 Commitments to choices disturbing but, rather, a process
vocation, relationships,  Lack of direction and
sexual orientation, of exploration followed by
self-definition commitment
ethnic group, ideals  Unprepared for
 Exploration, resolution challenges of adulthood
of “identity crisis”

Self-Concept in Adolescence Self-Esteem in Adolescence

 Unifies separate traits into more abstract
descriptors  Continues to gain new dimensions:
 May describe contradictory traits  close friendship
 e.g., introvert and extrovert  romantic appeal
 job competence
 Gradually combines traits into organized
system:  Generally rises, but drops temporarily at
school transitions
 Qualifiers
 increasing sense of mastery -> rise in self-
 “I have a fairly quick temper”
 integrating principles
 Parenting style affects quality and stability of
 “I’m very adaptable”
 Place more emphasis on social virtues  authoritative parenting + teacher encouragement
 Gradual focus on plans and beliefs  Identity

Self-Esteem in Adolescence Identity Statuses
 James Marcia (1980)
 Parental dissatisfaction  aggressiveness and  Two criteria based on Erikson’s theory: commitment &
antisocial behavior exploration
 Poor academic self-esteem  anxious and  Identity achievement
commitment to values, beliefs, and goals following a
period of exploration
 Negative peer relationships  anxious and • Identity moratorium
depressed “delay or holding pattern”
exploration without having reached commitment
• Identity foreclosure
commitment in the absence of exploration
• Identity diffusion
an apathetic state characterized by lack of both
exploration and commitment.

Identity Statuses Identity Development

 Some remain in one identity status, while
others experience many status transitions,
o Most move from “lower” statuses (foreclosure or
Commitment diffusion) to higher ones (moratorium or
achievement) between their mid-teens and mid-

High Low twenties

o Some move in the reverse direction.
identity identity
High  Patterns vary across identity domains:
achievement moratorium
 sexual orientation,
identity identity  vocation,
Low  religious and political values.
foreclosure diffusion

Identity Development Identity Status and Cognitive Style

Identity-achieved Information-gathering
 College Seek out relevant information, evaluate it
carefully, and critically reflect on and revise
o Promotes identity development: Moratorium their views
expanded opportunities
Foreclosure Dogmatic, inflexible
o Career options and lifestyles  a Passive, adjustment problems, internalizing
broad range of life experiences the values and beliefs of others; fear
Diffusion rejection

 Work immediately after high Diffuse-avoidant

Long-term diffusion Least mature; apathy, avoid dealing with
school (or before) personal decisions and problems
o Earlier self-definition
o But at risk for identity because of
• Both identity achievement and moratorium are healthy
lack of training or vocational
choices. routes to a mature self-definition.
• Long-term foreclosure and diffusion are maladaptive.

Factors that Affect Identity Factors that Affect Identity
Development Development
 Personality: Child-rearing practices & attachment:
 Identity status is both cause and consequence of
personality.  Identity development is enhanced if families
 Assume that absolute truth is always attainable - serve as a “secure base”
> foreclosed.
 Doubt that they will ever feel certain about  Adolescents who feel attached to their parents + free
anything -> identity diffused. to voice their own opinions -> moratorium or identity
 Appreciate that they can use rational criteria to achievement
choose among alternatives -> moratorium or  Foreclosed teenagers usually have close bonds with
identity achievement. parents but lack opportunities for healthy separation.
 Diffused young people report the lowest levels of
parental support and of warm, open communication.

Factors that Affect Identity

Development Culture and Identity
 Interaction with peers  exposure to ideas and
 Constructing a sense of self-continuity
 Close friends: options through emotional support and role
despite major personal changes
models.  Ethnic identity—a sense of ethnic group
 Trusting peer ties  better attachment & career membership and attitudes and feelings
exploration. associated with it.
 Bicultural identity—exploring and adopting
 Societal forces values from both the adolescent’s
 Special problems faced by homosexual and bisexual youth. subculture and the dominant culture
 For minority adolescents:
 Adolescents with a positive connection
 Discrimination vs. a sense of cultural belonging
to their ethnic group are better-

Moral Development Kohlberg’s Theory

Preconventional level:
 Cognitive development and social Stage 1: Punishment and obedience
experiences -> Increasingly just, fair, Focus on fear of authority and avoidance of punishment
and balanced solutions to moral as reasons for behaving morally
problems. Stage 2: Instrumental purpose
 Lawrence Kohlberg Understand reciprocity as equal exchange of favors
 Used “moral dilemmas” to assess moral Conventional level
Stage 3: good boy–good girl
“In Europe a woman was near death from cancer. There was one drug the
Want to maintain approval of others
doctors thought might save her. A druggist in the same town had discovered it,
but he was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. The sick woman’s Trust, caring and loyalty to others a basis of judgment
husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could
only get together half of what it cost. The druggist refused to sell the drug for less
Stage 4: social-order-maintaining
or let Heinz pay later. So Heinz became desperate and broke into the man’s store  larger perspective of societal laws, justice and duty; each
to steal the drug for his wife. Should Heinz have done that? Why or why not?” person should obey them

Kohlberg’s Theory Kohlberg’s Stages of
Moral Development
Postconventional / Principle level: Preconventional Stage 1: Punishment and
level obedience
 Moral reasoning and content come together in a
No internalization Stage 2: Instrumental purpose
coherent ethical system
Stage 5: The social contract Conventional level Stage 3: “Good boy–good girl”
Laws and rules as flexible instruments for furthering Maintaining the current (morality of interpersonal
social system –> positive
human purposes cooperation)
relationships & societal
Free and willing participation in the system because it order Stage 4: Social-order-maintaining
brings about more good Postconventional Stage 5: Social contract
Stage 6: The Universal Ethical Principle or principled level Stage 6: Universal ethical principle
Moral standards based on universal human rights Social contract and
Abstract ethical principles of conscience that are valid for individual rights
all people, regardless of law and social agreement

Kohlberg’s Stages of Kohlberg’s Stages of

Moral Development Moral Development
 Example Statements for and against stealing:  Moral understanding promoted by:
 Stage 1: «You shouldn’t steal the drug because you’ll be caught and
sent to jail if you do»  1) actively grappling with moral issues and noticing
 Stage 2: “If Heinz decides to risk jail to save his wife, it’s his life he’s weaknesses in one’s current reasoning,
risking; he can do what he wants with it.»  (2) gains in perspective taking, which permit
 Stage 3: No one will think you’re bad if you steal the drug, but your individuals to resolve moral conflicts in more effective
family will think you’re an inhuman husband if you don’t» ways.
 Stage 4: “Even if his wife is dying, it’s still his duty as a citizen to
obey the law. If everyone starts breaking the law in a jam, there’d be
no civilization»
 Each stage occurs in a sequence
 Stage 5: “Although there is a law against stealing, the law wasn’t
meant to violate a person’s right to life»  Before 9, most children are at Stage 1.
 Stage 6: «Respect for human life and personality is absolute and
accordingly people have a mutual duty to save one another from
 Most adolescents are at Stage 3, with some
dying» signs of Stage 2 and 4.

Research on Research on
Kohlberg’s Theory Kohlberg’s Theory
 Doesn’t really follow a neat & organized
 Stages 3 and 4 reflect morally mature
 Few people reach postconventional morality
Stage 4 is the typical response of college
educated young adults.
 How about moral behavior?
 In real life, people often reason below
actual capacity
Situational factors
Colby et al., 1983  Emotions

Sex Differences in Influences on
Moral Reasoning? Moral Reasoning
 Carol Gilligan: feminine morality ->  Child-rearing practices:
emphasis on “ethic of care”
 caring, supportive
 (Kohlberg’s system devalues this)
 No female Ss in the Kohlberg study  encourage prosocial behavior
orientation  Listening sensitively
 Kohlberg: emphasis on rights and justice  Discussions of moral concerns
orientation  presenting higher level reasoning
 Each sex uses both orientations, but
females may stress care more,
because of greater involvement in
activities involving care and concern for

Influences on Influences on
Moral Reasoning Moral Reasoning
 Culture
 Schooling: higher education  industrialized nations move through
Kohlberg’s stages more quickly &
 Years of schooling -> movement to Kohlberg’s
advance to a higher level than
Stage 4 or higher
individuals in village societies, who
 Awareness of social diversity rarely move beyond Stage 3.
 Peer interaction  Individualism / collectivism
 Having close friends  Direct relationships btw people
 Interaction among peers w/ rather than larger social structures
different views  Yet, age-related trend consistent
 Mutuality and intimacy with Kohlberg’s Stages 1 to 4
across diverse societies.

Moral Reasoning and Behavior Religious Involvement

and Morality
Does moral reasoning predict moral
behavior?  Formal religious
 The relationship is only modest! involvement declines
 Moral identity—the degree to which in adolescence
morality is central to self-concept  Religious involvement
 Factors influencing behavior include linked to
 maturity of moral reasoning  more community service
 emotions: empathy, sympathy, guilt
 less drug and alcohol
 temperament use
 cultural experiences and beliefs
 parenting practices: inductive discipline, moral
 delayed sexual activity
standards  less delinquency
 schooling: just educational environments

Pragmatic Approach
to Morality

 Claims Kohlberg’s stages inadequately

account for behavior in everyday life
 Moral judgments are practical tools that
 depend on current context and motivation
 are frequently directed at self-serving goals
 Critics: People often rise above self-
interest to defend others’ rights.