Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 13 (2013), pp 159–186.

doi 10.1080/15283488.2013.776963


Copyright © 2013 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


n 1992 (n = 21) and 1995 (n = 8), the principal investigator collected data from 29 reservation-residing Navajo Native American teenage mothers. A primary goal of the 1992 and 1995 investigations (Time 1) was to examine the identity status of the young women in relation to commitment to the maternal role using Marcia’s (1980) framework. Results revealed that an approximately equal number of participants could be classified as achieved, moratorium, foreclosed, and diffused (see Dalla, 2000). In 2007 (Time 2), the principal investigator returned to collect follow-up data at the Navajo Reservation, where she interviewed 21 (72%) of the original 29 women. Using a qualitative research strategy, the primary goal of this investigation was to examine developmental trajectories of participants’ identity status in relation to four significant life domains (i.e., maternity, intimate relationships, work/ occupation, and culture). The frequencies of the identity achievement status were higher at Time 2 than at Time 1, and this identity status was also more stable than the other statuses. Findings supported the expectation that presence in the identity achievement status would be positively associated with well-being, whereas the identity diffusion status has a negative association with such functioning. The authors discuss suggestions for continued research and application of findings.