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Aging presents developmental challenges for identity. The specific ways in which individuals address these challenges influence their identity development. While aging is a biological and chronological reality, the ways in which individuals psychologically construct their sense of self as they age make a difference in their identity development and adaptation to life. Recognition of the constructive nature of identity is a common attribute of many approaches to aging. This entry summarizes the insights of some of the major approaches.

Identity and the Development of Consciousness

Robert Kegan proposed a realistic vision of adaptation in aging, originating from his theory that includes three orders of consciousness for adult development. Each order represents a general psychological structure that strongly influences an individual’s sense of identity. Through the first ...

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