Personal Identity Formation

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The article on personal identity and self esteem among high school and college students in Belgium by Koen Luyckx et al examines the relationship between the two constructs, noting how both come into play when adolescents enter college and make the transition to adulthood. In simplistic terms, one’s personal identity attempts to answer the question “Who am I and what do I want to do in my life?”. This is particularly the case amongst students in high schools who have to figure out which educational pathway would be best suited for the career goals they have, which is a dilemma on its own. Personal identity formation comes into prominence as they launch themselves in the exploration process (Meeus, van de Schoot, Keijsers, Schwartz, & Branje,…show more content…
Stemming from this and a few other theories, Large and Marcussen (2010) put forward the identity-discrepancy theory which focuses on the meaning within social roles. It conceptualizes the self as being composed of multiple identities, which reflect aspirations and obligations. Building on to what Burke suggested earlier, Marcussen claimed that self esteem is an outcome as well as a motive in the identity process, and can also serve as a goal that motivates behavior. Her study examined the relationship between identity discrepancy and self esteem, and how it relates with psychological distress. It was targeted towards undergraduate students who were asked to respond using three types of identities: student, friend, and child. These roles held by the individuals were evaluated to deduce psychological stress (anxiety and depression), and its implications on the self esteem of the…show more content…
Participants belonging to diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds who attended an urban university were considered. Thus by taking into account two forms of identities, Jaret and Reitzes were able to look at both social psychological outcomes i.e. the affect on self efficacy and self esteem, as well as the academic performance of the students, which was measured by observing their GPAs. “Identity” was understood as situated self meanings, such as being an African American or a student, rather than a single, global self concept (Owens, 2003). Where college identity focused on academic activities, student confidence and meaningfulness, ethnic identity had to do with ethnic estrangement, advantage, and activities. These were then seen in relation with self esteem and self efficacy of the students, by looking at their grade point averages. The research helped in indicating that how students find “meaning” in their identities as students and as members of ethnic groups varies among racial categories and immigrant/non-immigrant status, and that to an extent this variation is linked with the self esteem, efficacy, and academic performance of the students (Jaret & Reitzes,

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