Appunti di PsicologiaŠ
Psychology Notes - Cultural Association for Psychology Research
Copyright 1995-1996-1997-1998-1999 by Dr. Salvatore Manai
Adolescent Identity, and an Elaboration on a Test of Identity
by Miguel Molla
(English version by Raeleen Mautner)
The Test of Identity for adolescents and youth, is an inventory
composed of 110 items. This test has been elaborated with the
intention of measuring a series of alternatives attitudes to
fundamental self aspects that build the feeling of ego identity.
One of the first approximations to the problems of youth, is to
figure out how to handle one's personal development: to reach a
sense of unity and coherence within oneself, to learn the
fundamental definitions of one's life, and the key aspects of one's
relationship with reality.
This attainment of personal development, called "identity", will
allow the individual to project him/herself to a personal and social
What is identity? How does it come about in human development?
The theory of Erik Erikson describes the psychological
development of identity, which has its critical moment during
adolescence, as a stage in which one must define aspects of great
importance to our future lives. Such development is characterized by
one's own personal individuality, knowing oneself and being that
Adolescence verifies this growth, assuming, genuinely,
consciously, and with one's own will, an orientation that gives
meaning to one's life, with which one translates an intelligence of
the world, and of one's internal and external reality, then
communicates this world with the creativity of his/her own vision to
become uniquely oneself, of value to oneself and to others.
This growth must continue its transformation: to grow, one must
overcome the daily problems associated with change, stages of crisis
which show themselves in various degrees of disorganization e
confusion. One expresses this by asking frequently :"Who am I?"
The characteristics of the identity of youth are incommensurable,
but our Identity Inventory is useful in facilitating a methodology
of classification of key characteristics described by Erikson.
The test of Identity allows one to establish an individual
psychological profile, a type of x-ray of one evolution process,
helping to reach an experimental confirmation of this theory,
comparing empirical proof with theoretical convictions.
The test has been devised to condense, in a questionnaire, the
phrases regarding the essential characteristics that define every
stage of the Epigenetic Cycle.
To validate the test, we use the same sample of adolescents, and
have them compile, other than the Test of Identity, also the
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), a test which
taps into multiple aspects of personality, and in this sense,
measures or validates the same variables of our test.
Our data was statistically analyzed, uncovering correlations
between both tests, and looking for the existence of significant
differences between the results. This permitted us to establish, on
one hand, the validity and the reliability of our test, and on the
other hand, to explain the significant differences. The results gave
us adequate validity and reliability of the test of Identity. The
reliability coefficient of .93 was considerably high.
The theoretical correspondence regarding content validity,
derived from 264 calculated correlations, tells us that only 1.6% of
these correlations showed significant differences, implicating a
refusal of the null hypothesis.
The Test examines the following aspects:
10.Leader and Followership
The average total score is the value of Identity
These results appear as objective indicators of the development
of youth, corresponding to different stages: those of the infantile
past, of the present, and projection of the future adult.
The tasks of infantile development are:
The tasks caracteristic of adolescence are:
5. Temporal Perspective
7. Role Experimentation
Other tasks also caracteristic of adolescence but projects to the
adult stage are:
9. Sexual Polarization
10. Leadership and Followership
11. Ideological Commitment
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE AREAS MEASURED BY THE TEST OF IDENTITY:
"Identity" mainly means adequacy and strength of the self, the
Ego; a balance, maturity, personal integrity, rationality and
dependability; and adequate level of personal satisfaction in social
adaptability and responsibility; spontaneous statement and
self-confidence (This correlates negatively with Scales 6,7,0,2,and
8 of the MMPI, and positively with the "Strength of Ego", Scale
"Trust", refers mainly to adequate faith in one self and in
others; maturity in the way one faces life, faith and personal
integrity, sociability, spontaneity, flexibility, and a feeling of
satisfaction with one's self. (This correlates negatively with
Scales 6,7,8,2,0 and 4 of the MMPI, and positively with the Strength
of "I" scale).
"Autonomy" mainly refers to the strength of Ego, and faith in
one's capacity to interact with one's environment, a sense of
organization in one's life, as something personal, for which one is
responsible, balance and integrity; a feeling of adequacy,
productivity, and sociability. (This correlates negatively with
Scales 7,6,0,8,5, and 2 of the MMPI, and positively with the Scale
"Strength of Ego").
"Initiative", mainly refers to a spontaneity of statement and
self assurance; enthusiasm and a consciousness of one's own worth;
originality in problem-solving; a capacity to decide quickly, a
flexibility in thought and action, activity and great initiative,
sociability and reliability in personal relationships (This
correlates negatively with the Scales 0,6,7,2, and 8 of the MMPI,
and positively with the Scale "Strength of Ego".
"Industry", mainly refers to a sense of organization,
responsibility and rectitude in work, the capacity to make decisions
rapidly and find solutions to problems, an adequate level of
personal satisfaction, reliability and personal integrity,
adaptability to the mechanisms of social conventionalities. (This
correlates negatively with Scales 0,6,7,2,and 8 of the MMPI, and
positively with the Scale "Strength of Ego").
"Temporal Perspective" refers mainly to a good orientation
towards time and space, an assimilation of experiences that profit
from an adequate level of interpersonal exchange and sensitivity
(emotional experience); rapidity of reaction and thought;
sociableness, concentration; ease in activity, sureness of the
environment. (This correlates negatively with the Scales 6,0,2,and 4
of the MMPI, and positively with the Scale "Strength of I").
"Self-Certainty", for the most part means the feeling of being
able to depend on oneself, a sense of adequacy and organization in
one's personal life; satisfaction and confidence in self-statement;
sociableness and adequate personal trust; strength of ego. (This
correlates negatively with scales 7,0,6,4, and 2 of the MMPI and
positively correlates with the scale "Strength of Ego ).
"Role Experimentation", mainly means emphasis on action;
confronting diverse situations, competence, research resulting from
the force of productivity, effervescence and colorful statement of
oneself; a sense of direction in one's own life, or a clarification
of one's own intentions; and adequate exercise of goal anticipation;
maturity in one's style of confronting life, energy and enthusiasm ,
and in a certain way, absence of conventionalism. (This correlates
negatively with the Scales 0,8,7,6,2, and 4 of the MMPI and
positively with the "Strength of Ego" Scale.
"Apprenticeship" mainly means interest in the environment and in
contact with the world, having a strategy of vital contact, a
favorable attitude towards work and knowledge, conventional
adaptation to the requirements of the environment, restlessness,
personal satisfaction, personal maturity, responsibility and
rectitude in work and sociability (This correlates negatively with
scales 8,2,6,7, and 0 of the MMPI, and positively with the scale
"Strength of Ego".
"Sexual Polarization": a strong Ego in adolescence enables one to
endure the crises one must confront to reach a final equilibrium and
integration of experiences, which , at times, are opposing and
contradictory. Sexual polarization mainly means personal adaptation;
an adequate and favorable attitude towards ones own sex role;
adequate faith in oneself; energy, impulsivity, an inclination to
pursue interests appropriate to one's sex. (Correlates negatively
with scales 7,2, and 5 of the MMPI, and positively with the scale
"Strength of Ego")
"Leadership and Followership" mainly means adequacy in
interpersonal relationships, and adaptation to groups which the
individual finds meaningful; confidence in the environment and in
significant others; adequate exercise and sharing of leadership
roles; a sense of self-worth; maturity,responsibility; the tendency
to accept and recognize authority figures; sociability. (This
correlates negatively with the scales 7,0,6, and 8 of the MMPI, and
positively with the scale "Strength of Ego".
"Ideological Commitment" refers mainly to the individual's level
of participation in valuable relationships in one's own environment;
stability, integrity, personal trust, maturity, and adaptability to
social requirements. (This correlates negatively with scales
2,6,4,and 8 of the MMPI, and positively with the scale "Strength of
I think that the Ego of the adolescent proves a sort of
"engineering of the personality", and that adolescence provides a
special explanation of defensive strategies that manifest themselves
in a form that is creative, constructive and ingenious in an
individual sense (Yoico), and that maneuver in a social context. The
adolescent establishes diverse characterizations of oneself, testing
with rolls, various social postures, self-images that are not
totally internally derived, but neither are they a compromise. This
serves to make one agile in the use of remediation, to remain the
same notwithstanding changes, to find oneself in finding a
definition of one self (this is what Erikson called the search for
identity), that is very different from the postures and defensive
games mentioned earlier.
The adolescent uses defensive styles, felt as a construction of
the internal Gestalt (an engineering of the Ego), among elements
that combine and balance each other out, while the identity conforms
with what changes and molds the "I" against the contrasts of
adolescence, overcoming confusion.
As Erikson points out, three dimensions exist of which one can
speak of the feeling of identity: as a conscious feeling, as a way
of behaving (observable to others), and lastly, also as an internal
state, verifiable only by special examination.
We believe that the problems of adolescence (which one can verify
at any level), cannot be produced with a structure such as in base
psychiatric terms, but as a coming together of characteristic
defensive modalities, forming an extension of Liberman's concept
(1976), we can call it "style of communication".
By means of the test of Identity, we can access at the first
level (a conscious feeling),and extend this access by partial
interpretation into the other two levels, to verify a posteriori by
an accurate anamnestic.
Using this method, one can also easily diagnose the
characteristics of adolescents in group form, as well as
precociously prevent various problems and risks, in such a way that
"the game is more creative, health is more satisfying, sexuality is
more free, and work is more meaningful".
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