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Just like my peers, I remember identifying myself as a potential engineer in class 9. Even before exploring the subjects related to this stream, I was confident I would ace it.

The premature conclusion to accepting an identity, in which self-definition is attained without the active exploration of different identities, is what Marcia termed Identity foreclosure.

James Marcia, a clinical and developmental psychologist characterized this phase as an avoidance of an identity crisis by adhering to parental or authorities’ views or plans of the future. This lack of crisis and exploration leads the individual to commit to identities suggested to them by others.

Foreclosures were considered to have “conferred” identities. They seemed to be heirs to a bequeathed identity rather than having formulated their own via an exploratory process. For that reason, foreclosed adolescents are unable to distinguish between their own goals and interests and the ones that their parents/authoritative figures make for them.

An example would be a 12 year old who says they are a member of the political party their parents support. They have chosen this identity for themselves but haven’t questioned why, or explored other ideas or options.

In other words, foreclosures are people who are committed to an identity but not as a result of their own searching or crisis. They strongly believe in some ideas, like religion or politics, but they have not questioned these beliefs or examined them from a critical point of view.

Did your parents want you to have a certain career? If so, did you simply accept the idea without considering other options? If you did, Marcia would say you’re in the foreclosure stage.



Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]

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