Erikson’s Theory of Identity Formation
From early childhood we wonder and worry about ourselves. Young children typically see themselves as defined by their names, homes, families, physical characteristics, abilities, and so forth. As development progresses, however, individuals are increasingly likely to define themselves with respect to personality, ideology, and other such abstract characteristics (Garcia, Hart, & Johnson-Ray, 1997; Harter, 2006; Nucci, 1996). Moreover, as they move through adolescence, many increasingly see identity as something they can and must create for themselves. For adolescents, identity is both a matter of determining who one is and a matter of deciding who one will be.