Developmental Psychology

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This 1500-word essay will require students to demonstrate a theoretical understanding of how identity statuses develop. They will also demonstrate an ability to interpret chi square test of independence.

Essay Topic

Table 1 shows the identity statuses of 426 students, some of whom (251) are young adults, and some of whom  (175) are adolescents.

Table 2 shows the chi square statistics associated with these data.  

  • Do these tables show a significant association between identity status and life period?
  • Explain your answer by drawing on Marcia’s framework of identity statuses, and empirical studies of identity statuses. 

Table 1. Identity Statuses for Adolescents and Young Adults studying PSYC20008.

Identity Status Life period Total
Adolescence Young adulthood
Achievement Oberved could Expected count Adjusted Standardised Residual   73.0 89.6 -3.3   145.0 128.4 3.3   218
Moratorium Oberved could Expected count Adjusted Standardised Residual   66.0 61.6 0.9   84.0 88.4 -0.9   150
Foreclosure Oberved could Expected count Adjusted Standardised Residual   20.0 13.1 2.6   12.0 18.9 -2.6   32
Diffusion Oberved could Expected count Adjusted Standardised Residual   16.0 10.7 2.2   10.0 15.3 -2.2   26
Total 175 251 426

Table 2. Chi-Squared Statistics for the Relationship between Life Period and Identity Status

Statistic Value
Pearson’s Chi-Square 16.28
Degrees of Freedom 3
p-value .001

Word Limit

The 1500 word limit applies to the Introduction, Body, and Conclusion of the Essay and to in-text citations.

The word limit does not include Headings, the Reference list, or Tables (Tables are not expected in essays).  A 10% word limit penalty will applied. 


Students are expected to use between 12 and 18 refereed journal articles to support the rationale of their lab report.  Use a combination of the following papers as a basis for their literature research

Berman, A. M., Schwartz, S. J., Kurtines, W. M., & Berman, S. L. (2001). The process of exploration in identity formation: The role of style and competence. Journal of Adolescence, 24(4), 513-528. https://doi-org /10.1006/jado.2001.0386

Fadjukoff, P., Pulkkinen, L., & Kokko, K. (2016). Identity formation in adulthood: A longitudinal study from age 27 to 50. Identity, 16(1), 8-23.

Kroger, J., & Marcia, J. E. (2011). The identity statuses: Origins, meanings, and interpretations. In Handbook of identity theory and research (pp. 31-53). Springer, New York, NY. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-7988-9_2

Kroger, J., Martinussen, M., & Marcia, J. E. (2010). Identity status change during adolescence and young adulthood: A meta-analysis. Journal of adolescence, 33(5), 683-698. https://doi-org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2009.11.002

Meeus, W. (2011). The study of adolescent identity formation 2000–2010: A review of longitudinal research. Journal of research on adolescence, 21(1), 75-94.

McLean, K. C., & Pratt, M. W. (2006). Life’s little (and big) lessons: Identity statuses and meaning-making in the turning point narratives of emerging adults. Developmental Psychology, 42(4), 714.

Zhang, L. F. (2015). Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. In J. D Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (2nd edn.), pp. 938-946. Elsevier.

Assessment Criteria

A. Title   Weight
Title Content Clearly and concisely outlines the main topic of the essay, including the author’s thesis (i.e., central argument). 2%
B. Introduction   Weight
Topic Introduces the topic that is the focus of the essay. Defines key terms and summarizes essential background information accurately and in appropriate detail. 10%
Importance Establishes the importance and relevance of the topic. 4%
Thesis and Direction Clearly states the author’s position (thesis). Provides a succinct overview of the author’s argument and the direction of the essay. 6%
C. Body   Weight
Argument Critically engages with the topic to develop a clear and cogent argument for the author’s stated thesis. Supports key points in the argument with credible evidence drawn from relevant scholarly literature. Explains how the evidence supports the author’s thesis. 20%
Organization Structures the argument coherently, with a clear and logical progression of ideas throughout. Guides the reader through the argument, with each point building on the next and related to the whole. 10%
Understanding Demonstrates understanding of all relevant aspects of the topic under consideration (e.g., theoretical concepts, empirical findings, and so on). 10%
D. Conclusion   Weight
Summary and Synthesis Summarizes the argument by succinctly reviewing the key points developed throughout the essay. Resolves the discussion with reference to the author’s thesis. 15%
Significance Briefly reflects on the significance of the author’s conclusions with regard to the topic and may provide useful suggestions for future research on the topic. 5%
E. Writing/Presentation   Weight
Written Expression Demonstrates clarity and conciseness in written expression. Demonstrates continuity and flow within and across all sections of the essay. Exhibits a professional tone suitable for academic writing. Word choice is appropriate and sentences are well-constructed, with no errors in spelling, grammar, or usage. Contains an appropriate amount of original material. 8%
Paper Formatting Adheres to APA Style formatting requirements (e.g., with regard to page numbers, capitalization, punctuation, headings, line spacing, paragraph alignment, and indentation). 5%
Referencing Works are cited appropriately in-text and in the reference list, following the requirements of APA Style. 5%


The title of the essay should be focused and succinct. Ensure that the title captures the main topic of your essay and that it includes only essential terms. Avoid using abbreviations in the title; instead, write out all terms in full. The title should also convey your position on the topic under consideration, thereby setting up readers’ expectations for what your essay will be about.


The introduction sets the focus of the essay by establishing what the topic is, why it is important or relevant, what the author’s position on the topic is, and how that position will be argued for throughout the essay.

As you write the introduction, you will need to define key terms and summarise essential background information, so the reader understands the broader context for the essay. You will also need to explain why the topic is important or relevant in a way that attempts to engage the reader and captures their interest. Finally, you will need to clearly state your own position with regard to the topic (i.e., your thesis) and provide a concise overview of the argument you will develop in support of it.

Because the introduction as a whole needs to be concise, you should aim to include only essential information; that is, information that orients the reader to the purpose of your essay. Avoid material that is tangential, off-topic, or beyond the scope of the essay you have been asked to write.



The body of the essay is dedicated to analysis. The aim of this section is to provide reasoned, well-argued support for your stated thesis—to develop an argument. Your argument will most likely involve a few key points, each of which needs to be explained in appropriate detail so that the reader understands how the point lends support to your thesis. Each point will also need to be supported by credible evidence, drawn from relevant research. Assessors will be paying attention to your ability to critically engage with the topic and to how you evaluate and use evidence throughout your essay.


As you present your argument, it is important to consider the progression of ideas. The reader needs to understand how the key points in your argument relate to one another and to the whole. For this reason, it is a good idea to sketch out your ideas first before you start writing the essay. This process encourages you to think about the overall structure of your argument and the order in which points are presented. Because your argument likely has many points, it is important that they all fit together neatly. Assessors will be paying attention to whether your ideas are presented in a logical order and how you guide the reader through the main points in your argument.


Throughout the essay you will need to draw on relevant material from the literature to make your argument. This means you will need to refer to particular theoretical concepts, research methods, and empirical findings as you go about elaborating each point. In doing so, you show the reader your understanding of the topic and the associated literature. Assessors will therefore consider the accuracy of the information you have presented and whether it reflects an appropriate level of knowledge.


The conclusion summarises and integrates the key points developed throughout the body to bring the essay to a satisfying close. This section is not intended as a repeat (or rephrase) of the introduction; rather, you need to bring all the strands of your argument together to resolve the discussion with reference to your thesis. The conclusion also gives you the opportunity to reflect more broadly on the significance of your argument, such as the wider implications it might have for the topic under consideration. It also provides you the opportunity to consider what directions future research on the topic may explore, in light of your conclusions.

Writing and Presentation

As indicated in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences student manual, you are required to use APA Style in all work submitted for assessment. APA Style is described in detail in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (see Resources), which provides extensive guidance on written expression, formatting, and referencing. You can find further information on the associated website (


American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Findlay, B., & Kaufmann, L. (2019). How to write psychology research reports and essays (8th ed.). Pearson.

Gillett, A., Hammond, A., & Martala, M. (2009). Successful academic writing. Pearson Longman.

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