Effects of Authoritative Structure in the Measurement of Identity Formation: Individual Computer-Managed Versus Group Paper-and-Pencil Testing

Seth J. Schwartz, Ronald L. Mullis, Richard M. Dunham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


A total of 113 university undergraduates completed paper-and-pencil versions of the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire (Balistreri, Busch-Rossnagel, & Geisinger, 1995) and the Identity Style Inventory (Berzonsky, 1992b) in a group-testing format. Another 100 undergraduates from the same university and with the same general demographic characteristics completed the same measures in an individually administered, computerized form. Results show significant differences in identity status and style variables between the two methodologies. The individual-testing, computer-managed approach appeared to increase the frequency of foreclosure and to raise reported use of all three identity processing styles for non-exploring participants, whereas for exploring participants, the mean exploration score was greater in this condition. In paper-and-pencil testing, much more diffusion was expressed. The results suggest that the presence of authoritative structure may be important in identity measurement and identity manifestation generally. Also, individual differences in identity status and style may produce differential response tendencies between computer-managed and paper-and-pencil modes of administration of identity formation measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-248
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 25 1998



  • Computers
  • Identity
  • Measurement
  • Testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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