Social scientists use the term identity in a variety of ways to explain an assortment of phenomena. Some vocabularies such as: identity crisis, finding yourself, self-actualization, self-realization and the likes are used for the search for identity. For the purpose of this paper, Identity is an internalized, self-selected concept based on experiences inside the family and outside the family. Identity forming takes selection of values, beliefs, and concepts that may define ones sense of self. Identity cannot be separated from the culture since it is the very foundation of it.
The identity of the individual develops and sets across ones lifespan, beginning with a young childs awareness of significant others and an initial sense of self and extending to the older adults summation, integration and evaluation of ones life accomplishments (Erikson, 1963). Identity, then, is a broad term, which describes the general aspects of the individuals total personality that is, the formation, absorption, or incorporation of, for example, societal norms, values, beliefs, and standards.
Identity is determined by the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and environmental characteristics, and interactions of significant components of an individuals unique world. Review of Related Literature Erik Erikson Erik Erikson is American psychoanalyst, who made major contributions to the field of psychology with his work on child development and on the identity crisis. He specialized in child psychoanalysis. In 1933, when he migrated in the United States, Erikson became interested in the influence of culture and society on child development (Encarta 2001).
He studied groups of Native American children to help formulate his theories. These studies enabled him to correlate personality growth with parental and societal values. His first book, Childhood and Society (1950), became a classic in the field. As he continued his clinical work with young people, Erikson developed the concept of the identity crisis, an expected conflict that goes with the growth of a sense of identity in late adolescence.
He is considered a Freudian ego-psychologist; this means that he takes the foundation of Freuds theories, but turns away by focusing on social and cultural orientation instead of a sexual one. Ericksons theory closely ties personality growth with parental and societal values. Developmental Psychology Developmental Psychology is one field in Psychology that deals with behavioral changes and continuity from infancy to adult stage (Meyer 2001). A great deal of emphasis in psychology has been given to the child and to the deviant personality.
Developmental psychology is particularly significant, then, in that it provides for formal study of children and adults at every stage of development through the life span. Developmental psychology reflects the view that human development and behavior throughout the life span is a function of the interaction between biologically determined factors, such as height or temperament, and environmental influences, such as family, schooling, religion, and culture (Meyer 2001). Studies of these interactions focus on their consequences for people at different age levels.