Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ruth Montero & Nicholas C. Scull & Stephen M. Quintana
Identity development is the complex process by which people come to develop a sense and understanding of themselves within the context of cultural demands and social norms. Identity development has been seen historically as a primary developmental task of adolescence—the transition from dependency in childhood to increasing responsibility for one's own needs, interests, drives, aspirations, and desires in adulthood. This transition involves a cognitive reorganization in how youth think about themselves in relation to others as they gain physical, social, and psychological maturity. However, societal and historical shifts have complicated the developmental markers for adolescence, causing the demarcation of adolescence to become difficult to define. Additionally, despite being associated with adolescence, identity development is an ongoing process that continues throughout adulthood where one forms an identity within a larger and transitional cultural context. For example, changes in the body due to puberty, shifts in sociocultural context due to war or ...