Steven L Berman
University of Central Florida, USA
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: J Psychiatry
For many adolescents, identity development is a relatively smooth and rewarding activity of exploring and committing to the roles, goals and values that give one’s life direction and purpose. For others, it can be a tumultuous time of existential anxiety and depression, leading to a condition that has been labeled identity distress. Erik Erikson suggested that the adolescent struggle to achieve a committed sense of identity was a normative psychosocial milestone; however, he acknowledged that resolution of this developmental task was easier for some than others, and it has been noted that for a few, it can be psychologically debilitating. It has also been observed that identity distress and dysfunction may be on the rise, perhaps due to globalization and the complexity of modern society. Identity distress has been studied in a number of different countries including Canada, China, Colombia, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Sweden. There has also been some work on the development of interventions aimed at lowering identity distress and increasing positive identity development. More light needs to be shined on this important, yet under-studied modern phenomenon, in order to expand and enhance efforts to foster positive development in adolescents and young adults.
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