Traditional student affairs theories are the foundation of student development.  These theories are widely used to examine the identity, integrative experiences, and the cognitive, moral and ethical development of today’s college students. This page highlights “traditional theories” and give you a snapshot of what they are, who they target, and why they are important.  In addition, we found a useful tool on how student development theory works and how works to develop students.  To view a snapshot of how student development theory can apply to the experiences of students as created by Paul Brown, please click here.  For more information on the theories listed below, please select the text box for more information.

 

 

Brent Bilodeau’s Frame of Transgender Identity Development

Brent Bilodeau’s Frame of Transgender Identity Development  Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for test and papers.  We hope they'll be of help to you too. Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the...

Fowler’s Theory of Faith Development

Fowler's Theory of Faith Development Dr. James Fowler wrote book Stages of Faith in 1981, which highlights the developmental process in "human faith". Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for test and...

Marcia’s Ego Identity Statuses

Marcia's Ego Identity Statuses  Marcia introduced identity statuses to explain how college students experience and are able to resolve crises. James E. Marcia is a clinical and developmental psychologist and is known for extending Erik Erikson’s work. James Marcia...

Chickering’s Seven Development Vectors

Chickering's Developmental Vectors and Educationally Influential Environments Arthur Chickering's Seven Vectors theorize the "tasks" that students must go through while developing their identity. Dr. Author Chickering is the creator of the seven vectors used to...

Renn’s Ecological Theory of Mixed Race Identity Development

Renn's Ecological Theory of Mixed Race Identity Development Renn's ecological theory of mixed race identity development highlights both ecological factors that influence multiracial identity development and the multiple labels individuals with mixed heritages use to...

Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development

Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development Kolhberg’s theory of moral development states that we progress through three levels of moral thinking that build on our cognitive development. Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used...

Gilligan’s Theory of Women’s Moral Development

Gilligan's Theory of Women's Moral Development Gilligan, a former student of Lawrence Kohlberg, developed the theory of moral development for women.  Gilligan, felt that Kohlbergs original theory did not account for gender difference and childhood relationships...

Baxter Magolda’s Model of of Epistemological Reflection

Baxter Magolda’s Model of of Epistemological Reflection Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for test and papers.  We hope they'll be of help to you too. Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the...

King & Kitchener’s Reflective Judgment Model

King & Kitchener's Reflective Judgment Model King and Kitchener’s model of reflective judgment provides a framework for educators to help students enhance their problem-solving ability by learning to make defensible judgments about vexing problems. The Reflective...

Ferdman and Gallego’s Model of Latino Identity Development

Ferdman and Gallego’s Model of Latino Identity Development This theory "focuses on the ways Latinos come to think about themselves in a diverse and ever-changing society against the backdrop of a wide range of historical and cultural influences." Previous cohorts of...

Fassinger’s Model of Gay and Lesbian Identity Development

Fassinger’s Model of Gay and Lesbian Identity Development Fassinger's model of gay and lesbian identity development is a model designed to explore gay and lesbian identity development and examine cultural and contextual influences. In 1996, Dr. Ruth E. Fassinger...

Worthington et al. Heterosexual Identity Development Theory

Worthington et al. Heterosexual Identity Development Theory Worthington et al. Heterosexual Identity Development Theory has defined heterosexuality identity development as “the individual and social processes by which heterosexually identified persons acknowledge and...

Bem’s Sex Role Types Theory

Bem’s Sex Role Types Bem’s theory refers to the theory that children learn about what it means to be male and female from the culture in which they live.  According to this theory, children adjust their behavior to fit in with the gender norms and expectations of...

Evans et al.’s Transgender Identity Development

Transgender Identity Development (Evans et al., 2010) Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for test and papers.  We hope they'll be of help to you too. Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the Theory:...

Breton, Isajiw, Kalbach & Reitz’s Components of Ethnic Identity

Breton, Isajiw, Kalbach & Reitz's Components of Ethnic Identity Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for test and papers.  We hope they'll be of help to you too. Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of...

Torres’ Model of Hispanic Identity Development

Torres’ Model of Hispanic Identity Development Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for test and papers.  We hope they'll be of help to you too. Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the Theory:   Model...

Josselson’s Theory of Identity Development

Josselson's Theory of Identity Development Ruthellen Josselson’s Identity Theory explores why some women encounter a crisis, and whether or not they integrate that into their identity. This theory takes James Marcia’s four identity groups and applies them to women....

Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development  Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for test and papers.  We hope they'll be of help to you too.   Trust vs. Mistrust (Infants, 0 to 1 year) The first stage of...

Berry’s Process of Acculturation Model

Berry's Process of Acculturation Model Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for test and papers.  We hope they'll be of help to you too. Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the Theory:  Four phases...

Phinney’s Model of Ethnic Identity Development

Phinney’s Model of Ethnic Identity Development Jean S. Phinney developed a three stage model of ethnic identity development (1992) based on research with minority adolescents combined with other ego identity and ethnic identity models, especially the works of Marcia...

Atkinson, Morten and Sue’s Racial and Cultural Identity Development

Atkinson, Morten and Sue’s Racial and Cultural Identity Development Atkinson, Morten, and Sue’s model served to be the primary model of all of the racial identity theories. The model conceptualizes the basic progressions an individual goes through when defining his or...

Dillion’s Model of Sexual Identity Development

Dillion’s Model of Sexual Identity Development Dillon et al's synthesis model is based on Fassinger’s parallel model & Macia’s ego identity model and describes determinations and status of sexual identity development. Dr. Frank Dillon is a graduate of the University...

Worthington et al. Heterosexual Identity Development Theory

Worthington et al. Heterosexual Identity Development Theory Defined heterosexuality identity development as “the individual and social processes by which heterosexualy identified persons acknowledge and define their sexual needs, values sexual expression, and...

Cass’s Model of Sexual Orientation Formation

Cass’s Model of Sexual Orientation Formation Cass's model is known by many as the first model to treat gay people as "normal" in hetero-sexist society. It is important to note that these stages can be revisited at different stages in life.   Vivienne Cass developed...

Horse’s Perspective on American Indian Identity Development 

Horse’s Perspective on American Indian Identity Development  Perry Horse’s Perspective on American Indian Identity Development is grounded in the a term he coined based on individual and group consciousness. This term explains the unique and collective experiences of...

Rowe, Bennett, and Atkinson White Racial Consciousness Model

Rowe, Bennett, and Atkinson’s White Racial Consciousness Model  Wayne Rowe, Sandra Bennett, and Donald Atkinson introduced the White racial consciousness model in 1994.  This theory offers a model to speak to the role White plays into the relationships with themselves...

Helm’s Model of White Identity Development

Helm’s Model of White Identity Development  This theory assumes all individuals who identify as White begin with views of racism. Additionally, student affairs professionals will most likely interact with students in stage 3 & 4. Previous cohorts of FSU students have...

Kim’s Asian American Identify Development Model

Kim’s Asian American Identify Development Model Jean Kim's Asian American Identity Development Model emphasizes racial identity to showcase the "social and psychological consequences" of being racially minoritized in the United States. The purpose of this theory was...

Chickering’s Theory of Identity Development

Chickering’s Theory of Identity Development Arthur Chickering's Seven Vectors theorize the "tasks" that students must go through while developing their identity. Previous cohorts of FSU students have developed these printable summaries and used them to prepare for...

D’Augelli’s Theory of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Development

D’Augelli’s Model of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Development  This model introduced a lifespan sexual identity development in social environment.  Three core concepts interact within the theory: A) Personal/Subjective Actions; B) Interactive Intimacies; C)...

Rests Neo-Kohlbergian Approach

Rest's Neo-Kohlberg's theory developed an objective measure of moral development: the Defining Issues Test (DIT).  It explored institutions and social systems, unlike Kohlberg who limited stage content to social institutions. Rest developed the Neo-Kohlbergian...

Perry’s Theory of Intellectual and Ethical Development

Perry's Theory of Intellectual and Ethical Development  The purpose of Perry’s Theory of Intellectual and Ethical Development is to examine how students make meaning of the teaching and learning process. More specifically, this model is used for understanding how...

Schlossberg’s Transition Theory

If you have ever played the board game LIFE, Schlossberg’s Transition Theory won’t come as a big surprise. LikeLIFE, transition theory helps adults process and grow from unexpected (real) life turns. According to Evans et al. (2010), Schlossberg’s Transition Theory...

Kegan’s Theory of Evolution of Consciousness

Kegan's Theory of Evolution of Consciousness Kegan refers to his theory as the “personal unfolding of ways of organizing experiences that are not simply replaced as we grow but subsumed into more complex systems of mind” (Evans et al., 2010, p. 178).  What?...

Baxter Magolda’s Theory of Self-Authorship

Baxter Magolda’s Theory of Self-Authorship   Baxter Magolda defines self-authorship as “the internal capacity to define one’s beliefs, identity, and social relations” and answers the three following questions (Evans et al.,2010, p.184). How do I know?  Who Am I?  How...

Cross and Fhagen-Smith’s Model of Black Identity Development

Cross and Fhagen-Smith’s Model of Black Identity Development       Cross (1971) adopted the idea of nigrescence, the process of becoming black, as the foundation for the later sector model develops with Fhagen-Smith. The model looks at the progression of...