The Youth, Frail and Confused: Apt to Identity Crisis

Topics: Erik Erikson, Developmental psychology, Erikson's stages of psychosocial development Pages: 7 (2368 words) Published: September 6, 2011
The Youth, Frail and Confused: Apt to Identity Crisis

Thesis Statement:
The young, the frail and the confused are likely to experience identity crisis because they are vulnerable, easily discouraged, and they usually find it difficult to establish a personality or goal; and even if they succeeded to establish one, it is even more strenuous for them to commit to a certain identity.

Whenever people encounter the word “identity crisis,” it never fails to arouse feelings of mixed curiosity, mirth and discomfort. Some feel curious, because it is either they have not gone through this stage yet, or because they just have an undeniably excessive level of inquisitiveness and interest. Others feel mirth, for they know that have already overcome this challenge. On the contrary, most people feel discomfort palpably due to the very play of the word “crisis.” This is due to the fact that people have established the word’s connotation as an impending danger or catastrophe. In identity crisis’ context, however, “crisis” is accepted as an essential turning point, a crucial moment wherein one must face a development in one way or another. Joined with the term “identity,” identity crisis is the time for an intensive analysis and exploration of a personal sense of continuity and uniqueness from other people. As identified by Erik Homburger Erikson, a famous psychologist, identity crisis serves as a formidable conflict in an individual’s psychosocial development. It is a necessary process to undergo though, if one aspires to become an “enlightened one” or a “self-actualized one” as Gautama Buddha and Abraham Maslow would suggest it. This documented essay, however, will not be focusing on the aspiring self-actualized ones; instead, it will be specializing on the certain types of individual who manifest qualities that make them apt and prone to experience identity crisis. Firstly, as Erik Erikson also pointed out, the young, particularly the adolescents are the most inclined to experience identity crisis. On account to the stage of vulnerability or Erikson Erikson’s Identity versus Role Confusion stage, adolescents tend to find and explore several possible identities that may be appropriate for them. Barring their paramount development is the dilemma of finding their true identity, along with some external and natural factors that contribute largely in making the adolescent’s situation worse.


As the adolescent advances closer and closer to adulthood, he/she will develop a greater sense of independence. At a certain point in this stage, the adolescent would rather be defined by anything or anyone but his/her parents. They will eventually feel embarrassed whenever they are seen with their parents and therefore detest spending time with their family. This is the stage wherein a realization: that their current identity was shaped by their parents, society and culture, take place. Giving up all the things that they stand for and rejecting their parents are the possible ways of satisfying their hunger for a clean break from childhood; and with this they venture to establish an identity of their own. In this stage too, adolescents are permitted to experiment in a variety of ways and to try out new roles and beliefs while seeking to establish a sense of ego identity. Thus, adolescence is an adaptive phase of personality development, a period of trial and error.

The society wherein the adolescent lives at plays a very substantial role in creating, building and shaping his/her identity. In the society, it is inevitable for its members to admire their co-members. They are hungry for role models and can be rather indiscriminate about where they find them. With their perception of identity in befuddlement, the teens, oftentimes, will confide to their own peer groups. They will try to find that lacking “sense belonging and attachment” from their family to their peer groups. This may be the real reason CORTEZ 3

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Cited: Erikson, Erik. “Identity and the Life Cycle.” Selected papers. International University Press, 1902. Print.
Erikson, Erik. “Identity, Youth and Crisis.” International Journal of Psychoanalysis. New York: Norton, 1968. Print.
Erikson, Erik. “Reflections on the dissent of contemporary youth.” International Journal of Psychoanalysis. New York: Norton, 1970. Print.
Erikson, Erik. “The Challenge of Youth.” Collections. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1965. Print.
Marcia, James. “Development and validation of ego identity statuses.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. New York: Wiley, 1966. Print.
Marcia, James. “Identity in adolescence.” Handbook of Adolescent Psychology. New York: Wiley. 1980. Print.
Marcia, James. “Identity six years after: A follow-up study.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence. New York: Wiley. 1976. Print.
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