This entry describes Erikson's concept of identity and important elaborations made by later researchers. It also overviews currently used measures of identity derived from Erikson's work. Various identity disorders linked with arrested development of the self are also addressed, along with current instruments used for assessment purposes. New directions for research on the relationship between identity development and psychopathology are suggested in conclusion.
Erikson (1963) defined identity as a sense of self-sameness and continuity, which enables one to express biological capacities and psychological needs and interests within a social context. Identity formation is the process of finding meaningful vocational directions, outlets for the expression of ideological values, and satisfying forms of sexual expression in a wider social milieu.
Issues of identity, according to Erikson (1963), generally ...