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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Erikson conceptualized ego identity as the focus of a stage of psychosocial development and, for more than half a century, researchers have utilized various approaches to make this complex concept researchable. James Marcia’s delineation of four major identity statuses as pathways of identity formation has led to a particularly robust body of research. The departure point for this commentary are papers by Crocetti and Meeus and by Kunnen and Metz who have extended identity status research in particular directions. This chapter contextualizes these papers within a broad overview of the history of identity status research, from Eriksonian theory to interview-based classification to psychometric classification, and assesses the understandings that have been created by these research programs and where identity status research might proceed. Although psychometric approaches have been fruitful to an extent, the authors argue for the integration of a phenomenological approach to augment the accumulating understandings of identity processes.

Keywords: Identity formation, identity statuses, narrative inquiry, identity exploration, identity commitment

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