Identity is a collective term for the roles, goals, and values that gives one’s life direction and purpose. It is the answer to questions such as Who am I? What do I believe in? What do I want out of life? This entry discusses theory and research related to the process of identity development. This includes questions as to how it develops, how people can be classified in regard to where they are along the pathway of development, and the relationship between classifications and psychological well-being.

Defining Identity Development

The study of identity development within the field of psychology came about primarily from the work of Erik Erikson. He theorized that the lifespan could be divided into eight developmental stages. At each stage of life, a particular ...

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