When it comes to the term identity, it is loaded enough of a term that it is taken seriously by the population over all. The development of one’s identity is a very personal thing, especially during development at an early age, something so powerful and influential is sure to require some engagement on an emotional level. For the most part, identity crisis is identified during adolescents and is understood to be a point where that person’s role in life is unclear. But is identity crisis a real crisis?
This seems to depend on the attention that is applied to the study. In today’s society, social networking can have a major impact on social development and also has a lot to do with identity. Social development at its peak at an earlier age. Social structures in public places, schools and other people are very important especially during adolescence, and during this time, social networking and creating online identities is often referred to as the way to ‘fit in’ and be accepted. Perhaps because the association to that online identity, if a commitment is not made as to what that identity is can cause some confusion and cause this identity crisis. When there is no clear understanding of that person’s role then it can be confusing enough to be considered a crisis.
These are more internal and reflective roles that identity takes for that person. The theories around identity crisis are based off of the work from the theorists Erik Erikson. The development of these identities can be stunted by external influences when a person’s development is in a fragile state, so unless a definite decision is actively made as to what identity to either embrace or develop, there is a risk that the crisis might last longer than necessary. In most extreme cases, it does not end well.
Identity crisis studies have been developed since Erikson by other researchers and psychologists to cover the whole range from birth to death. They have even gone further into establishing different levels of cohesive involvement in identity development where a higher or lower level of commitment to identity achievement determines the life stages that identity achievement actually takes place. These are described in terms like ‘moratorium’ or ‘foreclosed’, stemming from what are most likely demands made by family environments, leading to regret in adult life.
Without looking too deep into this type of psychology, this type of research made by pioneers or breakthroughs in theories were hardly challenged far enough to be taken seriously past the initial theories. If you look at many of these well-known psychologists, you will find that their theories were sound and solid and that was the end of it. Early development and trauma in adolescence was where the problems seeded from and one was expected to carry this for the rest of their lives, but the rest of life is met with many other challenges and changes that are always involved with an identity crisis. A person no longer is expected to find identity achievement at an early age. This kind of breakthrough could happen at any time and at any age.
The crisis is constantly looming over us, because of new interests and influences as we live our lives. Some of these identities are reflected through establishing faiths which might also succeed in pulling us out of a crisis and being the answer we have been looking for, but in all cases these are social needs for us to be able to function with others. Not having that type of function should be considered a serious crisis overall.