The relationship between family beliefs and identity formation

Marykate Elizabeth Gonzales, Pace University


The present research was an exploratory study of adolescents' perceptions of their parents' beliefs and their relationship to identity formation. Sixty adolescents, (33 females and 27 males), ages 14 to 19 years and their parents were administered the Family Belief Interview Schedule (FBIS) which measured the extent of agreement between beliefs that parents have about the adolescent and the adolescent's own self-beliefs and the adolescent's awareness of parental beliefs and their perception of their parents beliefs. Adolescents additionally completed the Extended Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status-2 (EOMEIS-2) which yielded identity subscale scores in both the interpersonal and ideological realms for the statuses of Achievement, Moratorium, Foreclosure and Diffusion. Relationships among the eight measures on the FBIS and the eight subscale scores on the EOMEIS-2 were examined. Correlation Matrices for the total adolescent population and for male and female subject groups were generated. Results revealed that higher identity status in male adolescents is related to assumed similarity in beliefs with their parents and assumed parental consistency between parents' beliefs. Male adolescents in statuses where no commitment has been experienced showed higher congruence with father's beliefs. In contrast, female adolescents showed no significant correlations between their perceptions of their family beliefs and their level of identity formation. Because of the divergent results between males and females, it appears that female identity development can not be viewed and measured in the same way as males, and it is necessary to continue exploring alternate pathways in the development of female identity.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Gonzales, Marykate Elizabeth, "The relationship between family beliefs and identity formation" (1991). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9114488.



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