Developing Ones Identity Is A Lifelong Process Sociology Essay Example
Developing Ones Identity Is A Lifelong Process Sociology Essay Example

Developing Ones Identity Is A Lifelong Process Sociology Essay Example

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Psychology asserts that the development of individuality is a lifelong process. Self-identity, or being aware of oneself as unique, is crucial for this growth. Research has concentrated on adolescent identity, key for decision-making that will shape their future. This theory evolves constantly and draws from extensive information. Numerous theorists have contributed to our comprehension of identity by building on each other's work: Tajfel advanced social identity theory, Erikson created a renowned personality theory, and Bronfenbrenner developed ecological systems theory. Marcia expanded Erikson's stages comparable to those in Freud and Piaget's theories. Tajfel conducted two experiments examining favoritism towards out-groups and self-esteem boosts when participants gave their own groups more money anonymously; he identified three steps individuals go through while measuring others as "us" or "them," known as in-groups and out-groups, following a specific order


– classification comes first where we categorize objects to recognize them, including our social surroundings.Our group memberships shape our understanding of ourselves. Social identity is formed through emotional connections to these groups, while self-esteem becomes attached to them as well. Through social comparison, we strive for a positive image of our group and compete with others if necessary. This competition can be especially fierce among teenagers fighting for their identities. Erik Erikson studied factors such as religion, race, gender, and activities in determining people's identities. Though criticized for his lack of credibility due to his reliance on case studies rather than formal research, his stage-theory on psychosocial development has been widely accepted. Ego identity plays a crucial role in this theory as it emphasizes how social interactions contribute to shaping one's conscious sense of self. His stages include Trust vs.Mistrust, Autonomy

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vs.Shame and Doubt, Initiative vs.Guilt, Industry vs.Inferiority, Identity vs.Role Confusion, Intimacy vs.Isolation, Generativity vs.Stagnation and Ego Integrity vs.Despair.According to Erikson, behaviors are driven by a sense of competency and each stage presents unique challenges and accomplishments that can result in either competency or crisis. The stages leading up to the main Identity versus confusion stage include Trust vs.Distrust, Autonomy vs.Shame and Doubt, Initiative vs.Guilt, and Industry vs.Inferiority. During infancy, trust is established or mistrust is formed based on the quality of care provided by health professionals. In the second phase, children make choices about food and undergo potty training which leads to feelings of security or inadequacy depending on successful completion. During preschool age in the third phase - Initiative vs.Guilt - children develop a sense of control over others which results in feelings of capability when successful but self-doubt if not. In the fourth phase - Industry vs.Inferiority – children recognize their achievements through interactions with society which fosters belief in their abilities. Finally, during adolescence’s Identity Vs Confusion phase children explore independence as they discover their sense of self.During adolescence, teenagers become more independent and involved in community activities, leading to an increase in both cognitive and physical abilities. According to Erikson's theory, this is a time when individuals explore their future careers, relationships, and beliefs with the ultimate goal of forming a cohesive sense of identity. This identity is formed through connecting oneself and one's environment in a meaningful way. However, if there are difficulties with this connection, role confusion can occur causing questioning of characteristics, self-perception and perceptions of others. Almost all adolescents experience some form of role confusion due to

physical, cognitive and social changes during this period (Kroger 2004 as quoted by Sokol 2009). Developing a strong sense of identity provides belongingness and direction in life while also serving as a reason for being which further development requires according to Erikson. James Marcia developed four Identity Statuses based on Erikson’s theory where personal choices and social commitments determine one’s sense of identity; it should be noted that these statuses may occur in any order or not at all rather than phases.Marcia has identified four positions that adolescents can find themselves in when it comes to their identity. The first is Identity Diffusion, where they may feel like they have no choice and haven't committed to anything specific yet. The next position is Identity Foreclosure, where they are willing to commit to certain roles or values based on what others expect of them. This isn't considered an identity crisis as these individuals choose to conform.

The third position is called Identity Moratorium, which happens when adolescents are in a state of crisis and ready to make choices but haven't yet committed to any options. Finally, the fourth position is known as Identity Achievement and occurs when adolescents go through an identity crisis and come out the other side with a clear sense of self.

This process isn't unique to adolescents; everyone goes through it throughout their lives. No adult can say they knew exactly who they were going to become during their youth - it's an ongoing process of action and reaction in our daily lives. According to Bronfenbrenner's theory, every aspect of life affects who we are, no matter how small.

We each exist within a vast

circle known as the microsystem, which includes our families, schools, and anything else we encounter on a daily basis. Beyond that lies the exosystem encompassing elements not within our direct sphere (like parents' workplaces or neighborhoods).Every aspect of life, including upbringing, culture, social roles, and environment contributes to shaping identity in young people. The macrosystem, consisting of events such as war, the economy, and government that influence culture and attitudes also impact adolescent identity. Although individuals are capable of determining their own paths based on beliefs and opinions during adolescence, parental figures and healthcare providers play a crucial role in factors such as religious beliefs, societal status, environment, education and future prospects. Teachers can aid in self-development by providing positive feedback to increase self-esteem and establishing an effective learning environment to encourage cognitive growth. They serve as powerful role models promoting positive group dynamics through projects while fostering self-identity for personal growth which positively impacts students' lives; knowing one's students is essential for achieving this goal. (Sources: Cherry K., 2012)The websites listed below cover various topics related to psychosocial development, identity development, and case study research. These include "Phases of Psychosocial Development: Psychosocial Development in Preschool, Middle Childhood, and Adolescence" by Feinstein (2007) retrieved from; "Teaching the At-Risk Teenage Brain" by Gilgun (1993) retrieved from; "Development and proof of ego identity status" by Marcia (1966) retrieved from; "Social Identity Theory" by McLeod (2008) retrieved from; "Identity Development Throughout the Lifetime: An Examination of Eriksonian Theory" by Sokol (2009) retrieved from; "Experiments in Intergroup Discrimination" by Tajfel (1970) retrieved from; and “Child and Adolescent Development” by Woolfolk and Perry (2012).

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