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The major developmental task of late adolescence – ID development

April 11, 2012

“Developing an identity, a sense of the self, is a lifelong process. As a very young child, one does not differentiate him or herself from the people who are central to one’s life. Parents, teachers, and, increasingly, friends do, however, have a significant influence in the formation of identity that takes place in adolescence. Erikson (1950) has theorized that achieving a sense of identity is the major developmental task of late adolescence. A teenager who accomplishes this task becomes definite about who he or she is, has a sense of belonging, and performs in social roles appropriate to that stage of life. One who does not achieve a sense of identity at this time will suffer from role or identity diffusion – that is, will feel awkward in social situations, will not have a clear sense of the self as separate from others, and may act in socially inappropriate, perhaps delinquent ways. Erikson feels that this dilemma must be resolved satisfactorily in late adolescence if a person is to relate meaningfully to others in adulthood.” P169

Ref: (emphases added) Sharan B. Merriam, Ed. (1983) Themes of Adulthood through literature. Teachers College Press, New York

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