Identity Development in Adolescence

Identity Development in Adolescence.

Identity development is one of the key developmental milestones during adolescence, especially in terms of career identity. A great deal of research has been done on the developmental progression of how and when one develops a sense of identity. Specifically, Marcia argues that one does not develop a clear sense of career identity until the period of emerging adulthood (Santrock, 2016). Prior to this time there is significant variability in decidedness that one has toward one’s career. Part of the research process is to replicate findings of other research projects in order to add credibility to the conclusions that have been drawn. As a fellow researching scientist in the area of adolescent development, your goal is to support or refute the age related changes in identity as proposed by Marcia’s theory of identity development. Collect some data using the methods described below and then write a research report supporting or refuting Marcia’s theory. Step 1: Start by doing some background research on Marcia’s theory. Specifically, find out the basic components of his theory and his view regarding age related changes in identity status. Also, address the specific influences that could help a teen to develop a coherent sense of career identity. This information can be located in your textbook. Step 2: Once you have a good idea about the details behind his theory collect data to support his theory. Interview at least four individuals about their future career using the interview sheet below. At least two individuals must be teenagers between 13 and 17 years of age. At least two individuals should be emerging adults between 18 and 25 years of age. (You may use classmates in this class for this exercise.) Make sure to get parental consent for subjects under the age of 18 using the consent form located on Blackboard in the Exercise Requirement Sheet. You do not need to turn these in unless requested. You will need to turn in the answers you collected in the interview using the Career Identity Development questions found below. Step 3: Analyze your data by classifying each participant into one of Marcia’s identity statuses. You will find instructions on how to do this on the last page of this assignment. Next, compare the answers given by the younger and older participants to make a determination about developmental differences in identity status. Think about why there might have been developmental differences in identity status or why there were no age differences. You are looking to identify what caused the change and getting older is not specific enough. What cognitive, biological, or social changes occurred that brought about the change in identity? Next think about the practical implications of this research or how you would use this information when interacting with teens. Step 4: Next report your findings in a well-developed essay/research report that might be read by one of your colleagues. The purpose of a research report is to describe how and why you collected the data, the results of your data collection, an interpretation of your data, and how this information might be used. The well written research report has a professional style, no slang or colloquial language, and is written in third person. The questions below mimic the type of information that would be found in an APA style research report. You are not required to do so, but if you would like to write your paper in APA style using the appropriate headings and formatting, I will offer 3 points of extra credit to be added to your exercise grade. Answer the following questions in a wellwritten, APA documented essay: 1. Open your paper by introducing the purpose of the paper. Discuss the problem that you researched and the anticipated results (hypothesis) of your data collection. You must include your hypothesis in the introductory paragraph. 2. Provide a brief summary of Marcia’s theory of identity status development including the statuses of identity development AND age-related changes in these statuses. This information should be taken from the textbook or other appropriate source, however, this has to be rewritten in your own words. Do not forget to appropriately cite the source using APA format. (This is similar to what would be found in the introduction section of an APA style research report.) 3. Describe your participants. You must at least provide this information: average age of all participants, average age of teenagers (participants between the ages of 13 and 17), average age of emerging adults (participants between the ages of 18 and 25), and the numbers of each sex. (This answer can be short.) (This is similar to what would be found in the “Methods” section of an APA style research report.) 4. Describe how you collected your data. How did you find your participants? What questions did you ask? (Do not just say those provided in the instructions.) How did you ask the questions? (This answer can be short.) (This is similar to what would be found in the “Methods” section of an APA style research report.) 5. Based on the answers given by each participant, provide a brief description of his/her identity status and an explanation of the status. The explanation should include a description of the presence or absence of crisis and commitment. Be careful with this one. Many people make mistakes in this. (This is similar to what would be found in the “Results” section of an APA style research report.) 6. Compare the identity statuses of the teenagers to the identity statuses of the emerging adults. Do you think there were developmental differences in the identity statuses of the younger vs. the older participants? Provide evidence to support this view. (This is similar to what would be found in the “Results” section of an APA style research report.) 7. Discuss why there were or were not age-related differences in identity status. If there were differences, what developmental changes occurred between adolescence and emerging adulthood that brought about this shift in identity status? Be sure that you are addressing age related differences and not differences attributed to other things such as differences in parenting style. Things to consider might be changes in cognition or social changes. Did nature or nurture bring about this change? If there were no developmental differences, why do you think this is the case? (This is similar to what would be found in the “Discussion” section of an APA style research report.) 8. Were your results similar or dissimilar to what Marcia says about age-related changes in identity status? (This is similar to what would be found in the “Discussion” section of an APA style research report.) 9. Do you feel that Marcia’s four identity statuses are helpful in examining adolescent identity formation? If so, how? If not, why are they not helpful? (This question is asking you to address the practical implications of the theory or how the theory might be used in the everyday life of a real teen. If you were a therapist working with a teen or the creator of a social service program, of what benefit is it for you to know the identity status of the teen?) (This is similar to what would be found in the “Discussion” section of an APA style research report.) 10. Provide a brief summary in which you list the major findings of the study. A good summary will also explain how this research aids in the understanding of this topic and/or will recommend directions for future research.

Identity Development in Adolescence

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