An investigation of relationship between identity development and cognitive development in adults

Joseph Michael Bigley, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between identity development and cognitive development in adults. It has been suggested that formal operations as described by Piaget (1968) are a necessary but not sufficient component of identity achievement (Kurfiss, 1981; Marcia, 1980). However, attempts to delineate such a relationship may have been unsuccessful due in part to the measures, methodologies, and samples employed. The purpose of this study was to examine that proposed relationship in adults using the intellectual development scheme outlined by Perry. The sample here consisted of 60 women who were randomly selected from a population of 149. To insure coverage of all the adult years, a stratified random sampling technique was used to select 20 subjects in each cohort group of young, middle, and late middle adults. The sample ranged in age from 20 to 60 years. Subjects were administered an identity interview that was scored for salience and flexibility. Results of these scorings yielded classification into one of Marcia's (1966) four identity statuses of Achieved, Foreclosed, Moratorium, and Diffused. Identity statuses were determined for areas of both work and family. Subjects' intellectual level was assessed from their identity interviews using cue sheets developed for Perry's (1970) nine-position scheme of intellectual development.^ Results of a multiple discriminant function analysis failed to statistically support the hypotheses that age, intellectual position, or age and intellectual position would predict identity status. The results suggest that the maintenance or loss of flexibility and a willingness to consider alternatives may be a major determinant of identity status in adults. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Joseph Michael Bigley, "An investigation of relationship between identity development and cognitive development in adults" (January 1, 1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9543450.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9543450

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