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The most frequently used measures of identity development do not contain a scale to measure the distress that can sometimes be associated with the process. The purpose of this study was to assess the reliability and validity of the Identity Distress Survey. The measure was found to have high internal consistency and test–retest reliability. Identity distress was related to the constructs of identity style and identity status. Identity distress was positively correlated with identity exploration and associated with the informational style and was negatively correlated with identity commitment. This measure could help identify those people who are having exceptional difficulties in the process of identity development and in need of intervention.


Originally published in Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research. 2003. Volume 4. Issue 1. Pages 1-8.