Identity Development

People begin life with little awareness of who or what they are and, across a lifetime, develop an internal and stable sense of self through a process called identity development. Identity is the internal conceptualization that a person has about themselves across a network of characteristics that may include talents, skills, intelligence, and beliefs. Identity can be collective—namely, about one’s groups of belonging (e.g., race, religion, class, nationality, and occupation)—and identity can be individual: about oneself. Personal identities may include positive and negative beliefs about oneself, which are influenced by factors such as race, nationality, dis/ability, poverty, nutrition, environmental hazards, trauma, religion, relationships, and sex assigned at birth. A person does not develop a single identity but rather develops a constellation of intersecting identities, including ...

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