A good way to point out what this looks like is when you have perhaps seen a movie where there is a robot. At a certain point during the story, the robot will ask, “what am I?” or questions regarding its association with the world around it. These are questions that are asked from all of us at a certain point in our lives. Here starts “How Identity vs. Role Confusion is developed”. These are part of everyone’s identity development. Never mind how important it is but more directly, what is involved in this stage of development. The psycho-analyst that is more associated with this is Erick Erickson. There is a model that is based off of Erick Erikson’s 5th stage which he refers to as identity vs. role confusion which explains the development of the basic foundation and what influences and hinders it as it develops.
Let us first take the term psychosocial. The term psycho is most commonly in reference to psychotic or a more derogatory term for the condition. In psychology however it refers to quite simply; the development of the ability to socialize with an interaction of their environment. Let us take the two words and break them apart where the psycho- part of their development for sexual orientation, personal values, personal beliefs, their roles (present, future), their aspirations and the development of their occupational interests which is similar to roles but more of an extension of them. This stage applies to the adolescent and being that they are most likely in school, they are going through the process of learning skills that will provide them with the opportunities to fit into certain occupational roles. It is important for them to develop the interest and therefore begins to play an important part of their identity.
Just from looking at the psychological development, we can already see that there are certain things a parent is going to have conflicts with; sexual orientation, personal beliefs, occupational interests are perhaps the main ones. But these parts of their development happen during this stage.
As their current situation at this adolescent stage, they are also actively interacting with others and are developing their identity through peers and others that are encouraging or discouraging those mentioned parts of their development. They are very influential in how soon or late their development takes place.
Erikson pointed out that conflict was also a very essential part of how this manipulates this development. The adolescent experiments with these new observations and looks at the variations by comparing them to others around them. One observation from a parent may also point out in their observation that the adolescent appears to have complete confidence in their identity. This is where the psychosocial conflict presents itself and it can go either one of two ways, they can get either adult support of interference and opposition.
The support of this development is important in that the adult becomes a role model or a focal point of support where the adolescent is encouraged to try these things where the adolescent is more willing to explore and therefore building their identity. Their willingness is important so that the child does not foreclose on the development of their identity - postponing the level of commitment to exploration that they could have from a more supportive structure.
In regards to the type of social development that is expected in order for the child to be a functioning member of society, these are important. While this is designed as a more objective statement, the reality is that these are human developmental processes where we express ourselves to others; we engage in emotional activity and commit to building support structures for one another. Any withdraw from this must be looked at as problem that is internalized and can develop as aggressive. In which most cases, is very dangerous.