Glossary



cisgender: an umbrella term used to describe people whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex

foreclosure: a term for premature identity formation, which occurs when an adolescent adopts his or her parents’ or society’s role and values without questioning or analysis, according to Marcia’s theory

gender: a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions of behaviors that are considered male or female

gender dysphoria: a condition listed in the DSM-5 in which people whose gender at birth is contrary to the identity with which they identify. This condition replaces “gender identity disorder.”

gender expression: how one demonstrates gender (based on traditional gender role norms related to clothing, behavior, and interactions); can be feminine, masculine, androgynous, or somewhere along a spectrum

gender identity: the way that one thinks about gender and self-identifies can be woman, man, or genderqueer

identity achievement: Erikson’s term for the attainment of identity, or the point at which a person understands who he or she is as a unique individual, in accord with past experiences and future plans; already questioned and made commitment according to Marcia’s theory

identity vs. role confusion: Erikson’s term for the fifth stage of development, in which the person tries to figure out “Who am I?” but is confused as to which of many possible roles to adopt

moratorium: an adolescent’s choice of a socially acceptable way to postpone making identity-achievement decisions. Going to college is a typical example. Engaged in questioning, but not yet committing, according to Marcia’s theory

role confusion: a situation in which an adolescent does not seem to know or care what his or her identity is. (Sometimes called identity diffusion or role diffusion)

self-concept: our perceptions of our behavior, abilities, and unique characteristics. It is essentially a mental picture of who you are as a person. For example, beliefs such as “I am a good friend” or “I am a kind person” are part of an overall self-concept

self-esteem: considered an essential component of emotional health, self-esteem encompasses both self-confidence and self-acceptance. It is the way individuals perceive themselves and their self-value

sex: a term that denotes the presence of physical or physiological differences between males and females

transgender: a term used to describe people whose sense of personal identity does not correspond with their birth sex



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