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, 2 (1), 3-52

Psychodynamic Aspects of Identity Formation in College Women


Psychodynamic Aspects of Identity Formation in College Women

R L Josselson. J Youth Adolesc.


This intensive clinical study investigated the role of developmental and psychodynamic forces in the identity formation of 48 randomly selected college senior women. Using Marcia's four identity statuses as a typology of the forms that late adolescent identity formation may take, this research explored the intrapsychic aspects which are central to each group. By means of a clinical interview, psychodynamic portraits of each of the statuses were developed. Case material is presented herein. Discussion centers on identification histories, on the quality of the ego-superego balance, and on significant early psychosexual conflict and defenses. Theoretical implications of the clinical findings are discussed with respect to Eriksonian and psychoanalytic formulations of late adolescent growth. The special nature of female identity development is also considered.

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