Identity Formation in Adolescence

Adolescence is a developmental period in which challenging adaptations have to be made. One of the most central struggles for many adolescents is their effort to achieve a sense of identity. Establishing an identity is an adaptive developmental accomplishment that prepares an adolescent to transition to the adult world and contribute to society. Adolescence is a period of searching to understand who one is by integrating established self-concepts from childhood with future ideals that affirm one’s strengths, values, and self-worth. This entry examines what it means to form an identity, according to psychoanalyst Erik Erikson and other theorists, and discusses the states of identity development. Finally, general issues related to identity development, including the timing of identity development, individual and contextual influences, antecedents and ...

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