The adolescence stage is a crucial period in a person’s life. During this time, people begin to explore and establish their own identity as influenced by their personalities. In the field of psychology, many experts have extended effort to help understand the stages and complex process that adolescence go through in terms of the establishment of identity and the development of personality. Among these experts are James Marcia and John Holland. James Marcia developed the Identity Status Theory while John Holland developed the Six Personality Types Theory; both of which contributed greatly in understanding the complexity of adolescent stage.
Based on the psychosocial development theory of Erik Erikson, James Marcia refined the concept and decided to focus particularly on adolescence, so he came up with four identity statuses (Kroger and Marcia, 2011). Marcia proposed that identity formation has two distinct parts. The first part is exploration, which Erikson previously identified as the crisis (Kroger and Marcia, 2011). During exploration, people re-think and reflect their roles in life. The second part is the outcome of exploration called commitment when adolescence commit to a chosen role crisis (Kroger and Marcia, 2011). Now, the four statuses identified by Marcia are different from stages, which means that there is no sequence that needs to be followed. One of the four statuses is called identity diffusion. This is a state in which adolescents have not yet done exploration, and they still lack a “sense of self-definition” (Kroger and Marcia, 2011). A cousin of mine is a good representation of someone who is in this status. At the age of 17, Carl seems to be anything he wants to be in a moment. Sometime he seems to be a good kid, doing his best in school, while he can also be a trouble maker when influenced by some of his friends. Another status that Carl identified is called identity moratorium. According to Kroger and Marcia (2011), adolescence in this period are “struggling to reach commitments and were engaged in an exploratory period.” I believe that at one point during my younger years, I was at this status. I struggled to understand who I really am and what I really want in life just before I decided that I am someone who has passion for education and the desire to succeed. Now, at this point, I reached the status called identity achievement. Adolescence at this status “arrived at commitments via an exploratory process” (Kroger and Marcia, 2011). Aside from identity diffusion, identity moratorium, and identity achievement, identity foreclosure is another status considered by Marcia. Adolescence on this stage proceeds to “by taking on commitments from significant other” (Kroger and Marcia, 2011). For instance, I was told that my father took accounting because it was his parents decision, and he did not argue about it. He decided to become a successful accountant without going to any sort of identity crisis because he trusted his then future career to the expectation of his parents. These are some of the examples of the identity statuses formulated by James Marcia.
John Holland, on the other hand, formulated the six personality types. The first one is realistic which is characterized by being confirming, honest, persistent, humble, and frank (Reardon & Bullock, 2004). People with this type of personality is best suited for outdoor works, such as farming and forestry, and other occupations that involve the use of tools or machineries, such as engineering. The second type of personality is investigative, and people with this type of personality likes to work alone (Reardon & Bullock, 2004). They are best suited to work as chemist or biologist and other occupations that does not necessarily work in teams. The third type of personality is artistic, and this people express themselves through creativity and imagination (John Hopkins School, n.d.). They are best suited to be actresses and actors, musicians, and directors. The fourth type of personality is called social. These people are said to be “humanistic, idealistic, responsible and concerned with the welfare of others” (John Hopkins School, n.d.). They are best suited to be teachers, nurses, and counselors. The fifth personality type is enterprising. People with this personality are sociable, ambitious, confident, and energetic, and they can be entrepreneurs, managers, or sales person (John Hopkins School, n.d.). Lastly is the personality called convention. Conventional individuals are careful, obedient, and loves to be in order (Reardon & Bullock, 2004). They are inclined to organize things, so they are best suited to be analysts, bookkeepers, and bankers.
Overall, reviewing the identity statuses and personality types of adolescence are one of the key steps in understanding their behavior and the possible future they can have.
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Office of Faculty Development (n.d.). Holland’s occupational personality types. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/fac_development/_documents/lisa_heiser_faculty_development_handout.pdf
Kroger, J. & Marcia, J. (2011). The identity statuses: Origins, meanings, and interpretations. Handbook of Identity Theory and Research, 31-53.
Reardon, R. & Bullock, E. (2004). Holland’s theory and implications for academic advising and career counseling. NACADA Journal, 24 (1&2), 111-123.