Saturday, November 20, 2010
Josselson's Theory of Identity Development in Women Summarized by Krista Loken
Ruthellen Josselson’s Identity Theory explores why some women encounter a crisis, and whether or not they integrate that into their identity. This theory takes James Marcia’s four identity groups and applies them to women. These four groups include foreclosures/gatekeepers, identity achievers/pathmakers, moratoriums/searchers, and identity diffusions/drifters. Women fit into one of these four groups based on experiencing a crisis and commitment of identity.
The foreclosure group includes women who have not encountered crisis; however they have made an identity commitment. These women have high internalization of the values of their parents, and they maintain ideals they had as children. The identity achievers have experienced a crisis, and committed to their identities. They have explored options, and they understand that they have their own authority to make decisions. The moratorium group have experienced crisis, but they have trouble committing to an identity. These women realize that there are many choices, but they tend to be overwhelmed by the options. The identity diffusers have not gone through a crisis, and they have not committed to an identity. They are women who seem to wait for life to happen to them.
Use in Higher Education
Women’s Resource Centers utilized Josselson’s theory by providing an area for women to talk about crisis and offer a safe place to comprehend events. Giving women the ability to talk about their majors, career choices, and personal lives allow for them to reflect on internal issues that could potentially become a part of their identities.
Annotative Bibliography Entry
Miville, M., Darlington, P., Whitlock, B., & Mulligan, T. (2005). Integrating identities: The relationships of racial, gender, and ego identities among White college students. Journal of College Student Development, 46(2), 157-175.
This study examined how racial identity and gender identity affect ego identity of White students. For women, it was observed that those who were experiencing racial and/or gender identity confusion usually experienced ego identity crisis or confusion as well. Those women who had positively internalized their gender and racial identities usually resolved their ego identity crisis (identity achievement). Racial and gender identities that were accepted because of societal norms lacked identity crisis (foreclosure/drifters). This study included mostly college seniors, which makes it hard to generalize to those going through crisis at different times in their lives.
Josselson R. (1987) Finding herself. Pathways to Identity Development in Women. San Francisco-London: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Josselson, R. (1998). Revising herself: The story of women's identity from college to midlife. USA: Oxford University Press.
Josselson, R. (2000). Relationship and connection in women's identity from college to midlife. In M. E. Miller & A. N. West (Eds.), Spirituality, ethics, and relationships in adulthood: Clinical and theoretical explorations (pp. 113-145). Psychosocial press.