CRITICAL THINKING ACTIVITY
After you have read and reviewed Chapter 6, test your critical thinking skills on these four case
studies. They will illustrate the identity statuses proposed by Erik Erikson and others. For each
case, suggest the most appropriate identity status – identity achievement, role confusion/diffusion,
foreclosure, and moratorium; then describe your reasoning. You will not submit this activity.
Use it to complete Discussion: Identity Formation.
1. Rudy. Rudy has changed his college major so many times that it will take him six years to
graduate. Since his parents have pointedly objected to paying the expenses for tuition and
room and board, Rudy has cheerfully taken on a variety of jobs, ranging from bartender to
show salesman. He likes work that allows him time to think and be alone; his few friends are
very much the same way. Rudy’s grades are generally high, though his record is marred by
several “incompletes.” He has had one very satisfying intimate relationship and is searching
rather anxiously for another. Rudy’s identity status would probably be described as
2. Melissa. Melissa’s parents are both physicians. In college she majored in French, spending a
semester in France studying art and culture. Upon graduation she surprised her parents by
announcing that she had applied to medical school. A close relationship with a hospice nurse
and a summer job as a hospital volunteer had helped her arrive at the decision. Melissa’s
identity status would probably be described as _____________________.
3. Lynn. Lynn’s mother is a professor of women’s studies who is deeply involved in feminist
issues. Lynn very much admires her mother, a strong woman who, as a single parent,
struggled to provide for her daughter while establishing her own career. Lynn believes that
she, too, will be a strong and independent woman. She avoids people (especially men) who
either don’t see her in that light or try to bring out her feminine nature. She certainly steers
clear of her paternal grandmother, who (although pleasant) is a very disorganized and “artsy”
person. Lynn’s college grades are very high, and her course selections reflect an unwavering
interest in psychology, politics, and women’s studies. Lynn’s identity status would probably
be described as ______________________________________.
4. Daniel. Daniel is a freshman at a college near his old high school. He comes home nearly
every weekend but does not enjoy himself once he’s there. He avoids talking to his parents or
old high school friends, preferring to “surf the Web” on the computer in his room.
Periodically he engages in impulsive shopping; after these sprees he comes home and talks
excitedly about the latest electronic gadget he’s acquired. He gets angry if his parents ask
what he considers to be foolish questions, and angrier still if they patronize him. Daniel is
enrolled in courses he has been told are easy, and he does not have strong feelings about his
studies or his grades. Daniel’s identity status would probably be described as