Young individuals create their path and identity as they are figuring out who they are, which isn’t always an easy task. Erik Erickson was a German Psychologist who is recognized in the psychology industry for his theory of the psychological development of people through eight stages ranging from infancy to adulthood. The eight stages include trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority, ego identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation, and integrity vs. despair. The developmental stage I will be explaining is Identity vs. role confusion. This stage is the most important in my life as of right now as I am figuring out who I am and what career I would like to pursue.
The fifth stage of Erikson’s theory of psychological development is identity vs. role confusion. This stage happens at ages twelve to eighteen years old. In the course of this period, children transition into adulthood searching for their identity and a sense of themselves. This stage is significant in light of the fact that kids are becoming independent and start to look into careers, relationships, families, and housing. Growing up I was told I could be anything I wanted, so of course, I wanted to be a mermaid or a police officer. Now that I am in college, my stress level is up the roof trying to figure out what I want to go to school for. The adolescent wants to fit in and belong in society. Not knowing what one wants to be when he or she grows up can lead to role confusion.
Role confusion is not knowing your place or role in society. Peer pressuring someone into an identity can cause rebellion and dejection. Speaking from experience, my father has been in the military my entire life. Growing up he always wanted me to join the military because he was committed to it. I told him that the military wasn’t for me and he was upset about it. This being said, it made me want to rebel and do what I wanted to do. This situation happens a lot, parents want their children to go to certain colleges or even take over a family business and they push their child too hard for it. If the undertaking of Erikson’s first four psychological stages has not been straightened out, the adolescents could move into the identity vs. role confusion stage with wariness with regards towards others, and feelings of humiliation, and wrongdoing.
Having a good relationship with your family and friends is connected with superior mental and physical health. Research has shown that group acceptance and healthy peer relationships work to protect in contrast to anxiety and depression. For adolescence in high school, finding the right crowd to hang out with maybe overwhelming or difficult while you are trying to create your own unique identity. I moved from Vermont to Florida at the beginning of the ninth grade year. It was scary because I didn’t know anyone. Fitting into a group was difficult because many of the groups I tried fitting into I guess you could say “didn’t accept me”. I hopped around from different friend groups to find out which one was for me, but I’ve also experienced certain friend groups that had bad intentions. If one doesn’t know how to say no to peer pressure and negative influences, they are prone to substance abuse and careless behavior. Adolescence may attempt to comply with the group in which they identify themselves. I believe almost every teenager acts one way when they are around their friends and another way when they are with their family.
The adolescent beginning puberty contributes to newly discovered cognitive and physical skills. Growing freedom and autonomy often lead to increased experiences with neighborhoods, families, and schools. Identity offers a deep sense of ideological commitment and helps individuals to know their place in the world. It gives one a sense of well-being, a sense of being comfortable in one’s body, a sense of guidance in one’s life, and a sense of importance to those who count. This stage has impacted my developmental life as an individual tremendously and still is as I am trying to figure out my career choice. I strongly believe that Erikson’s theory of Identity vs. role play is valid. This stage is extremely important because at eighteen years old you have the right to vote and find out what role you want to play in society.