PsychoSocial Moratorium

VARIABLES: Identity, Role, Commitment, Exploration

DOMAINS: Education, Psychology, Games
Contributors: C. Araki
School of Information Studies
Syracuse University 

Erik Erikson
"Moratorium is the status of a person who is actively involved in exploring different identities, but has not made a commitment." (source)
Moratorium: a legally authorized period of delay in the performance of a legal obligation or the payment of a debt; a waiting period set by an authority; a suspension of activity (“Moratorium”)
A psychosocial moratorium is when a person takes a break from “real life” to actively search for their identity. The developer, Erik Erikson, noted that it is a period of time “during which the individual through free role experimentation may find a niche in some section of his society, a niche which is firmly defined and yet seems to be uniquely made for him” (Erikson, 1956). During a psychosocial moratorium, a person has the opportunity to try on multiple identities and/or roles before firmly committing to one. They also finalize their sense of ethics and morals in this stage. Erikson intended for it to be the final stage of identity development, which takes place in late adolescence. People going through a psychosocial moratorium are said to be having an “identity crisis.” Erikson postulated that identity development facilitated personal functioning and well-being. If a person does not make a commitment to an identity or role after taking a moratorium, or if they don’t have a chance to take a moratorium, the person has a high risk for developing confusion about their identity and their role in society. (Erikson, 1956; Erikson, 1988)
REFERENCES ~ Coding Spreadsheet - Web View
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    Abstract: Using a sample of 2818 first-year college students, 51% of whom were male, and 65% of whom were Caucasian, we related their identity processing styles as determined by the Identity Styles Inventory (ISI, Berzonsky, 1992) to self-perceived academic self-efficacy and academic performance. We conceptualized obstacles to identity development and academic success and discussed proactive interventions within a context of gender and cultural diversity.

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    Abstract: The fulfillment of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness as postulated within self-determination theory was hypothesized to play an energizing role in identity formation, conceptualized as multiple dimensions of exploration and commitment. Two studies among high school and college students (N _ 714) were conducted to investigate (a) the cross-sectional relationships between need satisfaction and the identity dimensions and (b) the direction of effects using cross-lagged analyses. Three competing longitudinal models were tested: a need satisfaction main-effects model, an identity main-effects model, and a reciprocal effects model. All 3 needs had meaningful relationships with the identity dimensions, and, although there was a predominance of paths from the needs to the identity dimensions, the reciprocal effects model received most support. Further, identity statuses (representing multivariate combinations of the identity dimensions) were meaningfully related to satisfaction of the 3 needs, with identity achievement scoring highest on all 3 indices of need satisfaction. Suggestions for future research and counseling implications are discussed.

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    Abstract: 4 modes of reacting to the late adolescent identity crisis were described, measured, and validated. Criteria for inclusion in 1 of 4 identity statuses were the presence of crisis and commitment in the areas of occupation and ideology. Statuses were determined for 86 college male Ss by means of individual interviews. Performance on a stressful concept-attainment task, patterns of goal setting, authoritarianism, and vulnerability to self-esteem change were dependent variables. Ss higher in ego identity performed best on the concept attainment task; those in the status characterized by adherence to parental wishes set goals unrealistically high and subscribed significantly more to authoritarian values. Failure of the self-esteem condition to discriminate among the statuses was attributed to unreliability in self-esteem measurement.

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    Abstract: This study examines relationships between constructs based on two perspectives on the development of self-governance, namely Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000) and Berzonsky’s (1990) identity style model. Theoretically predictable relationships are found between the three causality orientations defined by SDT (autonomous, controlled, and impersonal) and the three identity styles proposed by Berzonsky (informational, normative, diffuse–avoidant) in a sample of Belgian late adolescents. An autonomous causality orientation is positively related to an informational identity style and negatively related to a diffuse–avoidant style. A controlled orientation is positively associated with a normative identity style, and an impersonal orientation is positively related to a diffuse–avoidant identity style. Participants’ gender does not moderate these relationships. The findings suggest that the causality orientations late adolescents employ may play an important role in how actively and thoroughly they explore identity-relevant issues.

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