Essay on Adolescent Identity Exploration: A Test of Erikson

962 Words Dec 15th, 2010 4 Pages
Adolescent Identity Exploration: A Test of Erikson’s Theory of Transitional Crisis Kidwell, Dunham, and Richard (1995) investigated Erikson’s theory that adolescent identity exploration is associated with a variety of symptoms, such as fluctuations in ego strength, mood swings, rebelliousness, and heightened physical symptoms. They sampled a total of 82 high school students (43 males, 39 females) between the ages of 14 and 17. These students were academically superior high school students who attended the Florida State University Summer Science and Mathematics Camp during the summers of 1988 (30 students) and 1989 (52 students). The minimum requirements for admission to the program included percentile ranks of 90 or more on standardized …show more content…
As such, it is important to include the family domain in the interview to assess adolescents’ commitment and relationship with their immediate family members. Next, Erikson’s theory does not apply to people in reduced economic circumstances who cannot afford a moratorium in adolescence to explore different roles and develop an ego identity. Moratorium is a period in which an adolescent avoids commitment. This stage may be a luxury available only to those with means to attend college or take time out to travel (Slugowski & Ginsburg, 1989 as cited in Schultz & Schultz, 2005). The socioeconomic status of the families-of-origin for the student samples was middle-to-upper-middle class. Therefore this fits with the criteria of adolescents to confirm Erikson’s theory. Generalizations could not be made to all adolescents, especially those coming from the lower socioeconomic status. Furthermore, this study was carried out in the United States, as such, it could not be compared to other adolescents across other cultures. Erikson argued that the period of active exploration is likely pronounced in the gifted, just like the sample in this study. A similar pattern of findings may not be revealed in a less select group of comparable age. Perhaps the “crisis” will surface at a later age, or perhaps the profiles will differ. Such questions remain to be addressed in future

Related Documents