Identity Development Models by McCarn & Fassinger

Several models have been presented to describe how identity and/or personal development takes place. One of the famous theories is that of McCarn and Fassinger. This model outlines two branches that appear to echo one another. These include “Group Membership Identity” and “Individual Sexual Identity”. This identity development model has four phases. These include awareness, exploration, commitment (or deepening), and synthesis (or internalization). Each stage outlines the psychological and identity developmental issues experienced by different individuals (Mio, Barker, & Rodriquez, 2015). This model has several strengths. To begin with, it is self-explanatory and easy to analyze. It can also be applied in different settings to explain numerous identity crises or developmental phenomena. Secondly, the model resonates with the psychological arguments of different scholars including Sigmund Freud. Such pros explain why it is applied in a wide range of settings. However, the model might not be used to describe the originality of natural psychological or identity problems. The model also fails to offer adequate insights for supporting individuals who are facing different crises.

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This concept can be applied in diverse settings to explain the nature of both personal and group development (Ali & Barden, 2015). The four stages are also elaborate and practical. It can also be expanded to describe the crises encountered by LGBTs. Such aspects make the model an appropriate and effective theory for analyzing identity development. That being the case, I would consider the four stages outlined in the theory to design an alternative model. This is the case because the theory is applicable in psychology and human development fields. However, I would expand the four stages by including new concepts that can support every person going through any form of an identity crisis. This approach will make the model more meaningful, helpful, and practical.


Ali, S., & Barden, S. (2015). Considering the cycle of coming out: Sexual minority identity development. The Professional Counselor, 5(4), 501-515. Web.

Mio, J., Barker, L., & Rodriquez, M. D. (2015). Multicultural psychology: Understanding our diverse communities (4th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Identity Development Models by McCarn & Fassinger." May 6, 2021.


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