Who am I? What do I stand for? What kind of relationships do I want to have? How do I see my future? These are among the questions that young people often ask themselves, and struggle with, as they prepare for the decisions and roles that characterize adulthood. Erik Erikson, a student of Sigmund Freud, coined the term psychosocial moratorium to refer to the time span set aside for considering these identity-related issues, without the pressures of adult roles and responsibilities. However, it is important to note that identity questions occur within a social and historical setting. If one wishes to understand the 21st-century quest for identity, it is necessary to ground this quest within its social and historical context. This entry provides a brief ...

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