Dimensions of identity (commitment, exploration, and personal expressiveness), self-esteem, and anxiety in actors

Carolyn Rose Armenia, Fordham University


According to Erikson, the formulation of an identity is the cornerstone upon which a healthy personality is founded. The processes of Commitment and Exploration were identified by Marcia (1966), based on Erikson's theory, as key factors in the development of identity. More recently, Waterman (1992) has proposed that Personal Expressiveness be included in the study of the processes of identity as a third defining dimension. The present research examined, via multiple regression analyses, Commitment, Exploration, and Personal Expressiveness as predictors of Self-esteem and Anxiety in 37 male and 40 female professionally trained actors. Self-esteem and Anxiety were examined because they are considered to tap the more obvious aspects of identity resolution and because they have been among the most often investigated variables in relation to identity. Moreover, these two variables are particularly important to actors whose use of the self in roles is their primary tool. Statistical analyses using Marcia's status approach were also computed. The results of these analyses found no significant differences in either Self-esteem or Anxiety by identity status. The results of this study did not support Waterman's hypothesis that Personal Expressiveness be included as a third defining dimension of identity. Moreover, Commitment alone was the sole identity component to predict Self-esteem and Anxiety. Thus, the present research supports more recent studies that found that actors have an identity to which they are strongly committed and to which no changes are anticipated. Theoretical implications are discussed and recommendations are made for future research.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Personality|Theater

Recommended Citation

Armenia, Carolyn Rose, "Dimensions of identity (commitment, exploration, and personal expressiveness), self-esteem, and anxiety in actors" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9543448.