Functions of Identity Scale: Turkish Validity and Reliability

Article excerpt


The aim of the present study was to test the factor structure, convergent validity, and reliability of the Functions of Identity Scale (FIS) on a Turkish college sample. FIS is a 15-item, self-report instrument consisting of five scales. In line with the original version, both the exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis revealed a five-factor structure, each representing distinct functions of identity formation. Convergent validity of the instrument was proved via bivariate correlations with theoretically comparable scales. Finally, internal consistency coefficients, test-retest values, and item-total correlations demonstrated the reliability of FIS for Turkish use. Overall, the findings suggest that the Turkish version of FIS is a useful instrument to assess the diverse functions of identity among Turkish college students.

Key Words

Functions of Identity, Functions of Identity Scale, Identity Formation, Scale Validation.

Erikson (1959) described human psychosocial development in eight stages, each consisting of distinct developmental tasks that are characterized by a conflict. The conflict in every stage solves in either positive or negative outcomes. That is, if the conflict results in positive solution the developmental task is achieved and if it results in negative solution the task remains unachieved. He conceptualized identity development as the principal task of adolescence, which is a normative developmental process integral to understanding who one is and one's place in the world (Erikson, 1950, 1968). According to Erikson (1968, p. 50), ego identity is the awareness of self-sameness and continuity and it is consistent across time. Adolescents form their unique identities by organizing developmental experiences and incorporating them with their current needs, interests and the demands of the social context. That is, identity is built upon childhood experiences (as reflected in the processes of introjections and identifications), however, during adolescence some of these introjections and identifications remain, while others are revised or entirely cancelled. In accordance with the theory, Erikson (1968) conceptualized the process of identity formation in a bipolar dimension with identity achievement on one end and identity confusion on the opposite end. According to him, an achieved identity is a clear, consistent and well-integrated structure, which includes a sense of personal direction, meaning and purpose in life. On the contrary, identity confusion represents the lack of a clear and stable sense of self-identity, direction and purpose on which to base a future adult identity (Schwartz, 2001).

Marcia developed the identity status model in an attempt to reify and research Erikson's identity conceptualization. On the basis of differences in the process of exploration and commitment, Marcia (1966) described four identity statuses; Identity Achievement is characterized by a commitment to certain beliefs, values and goals after a process of self-exploration; Moratorium is characterized by an ongoing process of self-exploration, where a commitment to goals and values is yet to be established; Foreclosure is characterized by a strong commitment to beliefs, values and goals, which however is not a result of in-depth exploration, rather identity foreclosed individuals conform and adopt the values of adult role models without much self-exploration; Identity Diffusion is characterized by neither a commitment to goals and values, nor an active engagement in self-exploration process.

Despite its widespread popularity among identity researchers, status model received much criticism for its limited conceptualization of Erikson's personal identity, its lack of cross-cultural generalizability and its underrepresentation of contextual and social factors in identity development (e.g., Côté & Levine, 1988; van Hoof, 1999). As a result of these criticisms, there were several attempts to broaden or develop the Eriksonian paradigm and several identity models have been introduced. …


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