Validation of the Identity Development Inventory with women from dysfunctional families and women with eating disorders

Stephen Scott Wilson


The Identity Development Inventory (IDI) was developed in response to psychometric problems typical to ego identity measures that are categorical in nature. The IDI is a 74-item objectively scored instrument designed to measure six dimensions of identity development. The six subscales generated from the theoretical work of Erikson and others are self-concept, consistency, control, comfort, commitment, and pathology. The present study compares the norming sample of 381 college students with two samples of college students who were currently receiving counseling. The first sample was 30 females receiving treatment for an eating disorder, and the second sample was 25 females in counseling for family of origin issues who rated their families as highly dysfunctional. Multivariate analysis of Variance demonstrated that the eating disordered sample scored significantly lower on all scales of the IDI when compared with the norming sample. The dysfunctional families sample did not significantly differ from either the norming or eating disordered samples. The Extended Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status-2 (EOMEIS-2), a categorical measure of identity status, failed to distinguish among these three samples. Correlations among the IDI and the continuous scores provided by the different scales of the EOMEIS-2 were in expected directions. Negative correlations were observed among the subscales of the IDI and diffuse and moratorium statuses. Positive correlations were observed between the subscales of the IDI and achievement status. Overall scales of the IDI did not significantly correlate with the foreclosed status. The IDI correlated with the Eating Disorders Inventory-2 (EDI-2) in expected ways. Significant correlations indicated that the IDI has a strong negative relationship with measures of self-esteem deficits, feelings of inadequacy, fear of maturation, difficulty with impulse control and insecurity in social situations. No correlation was found with social desirability. Implications for research and practice are discussed.