James Marcia is a Canadian clinical and developmental psychologist. He expanded off of Erik Erikson's 8 stages of psychosocial development, crisis and identity confusion by developing four statuses of identity in adolescents. Each of the four stages are based off of each individual's search or commitment to identity or personal beliefs. The statuses are not sequential and can differ from person to person.
What is important to note for parents is how much a child's identity can be influenced by the environment that they grow up in and the beliefs that they are raised with. Whether a child rebels against these views or directly follows suit, parents have more of an impact than most children are willing to admit, especially since these statuses are focused during adolescence.
The picture below and more information can be found here.
- Identity Foreclosure: this occurs when an individual blindly accepts the values and beliefs that their parents and those around them have without question or exploration of other alternatives or ideas for themselves, this is characterized by high commitment and low exploration
- Identity Diffusion: at this stage, the young person has not yet begun to explore possible identities and don't know what kind of person they want to be yet, they usually have trouble setting goals for themselves and seeing the possible future, this is characterized by low commitment and low exploration
- Identity Moratorium: when young people are in this stage they have usually experienced a crisis that lead them to an active exploration of their identity, they still haven't made any concrete decisions about who they want to be or what beliefs they want to live by, this stage is characterized by high exploration and low commitment
- Identity Achievement: this stage is reached when the person has extensively explored and committed to a system of beliefs and how they plan to live their life, these ideas are well-developed and thought out, this stage is characterized by high exploration and high commitment