chapter  12
Self in Relationship
WithMonika Keller
Pages 32

Adolescence is a phase in which a sense of a psychological self as a specific

person embedded in time and relationships is established. Authors from differ-

ent theoretical traditions have consistently pointed out that this adolescent

sense of self is deeply integrated in relationships. In particular, experiences in

relationships with close friends and peers help the adolescent develop a psy-

chological understanding of himself or herself as a specific person. Affective

bonding in relationships with close friends plays a central role in the develop-

ment of a moral self because in these relationships loyality and commitment to

another person are built. In adolescence the self is defined in terms of relation-

ships and as Kegan (1982) aptly phrased it, the self is the relationship. There-

fore, the developmental task in the transition into late adolescence and

adulthood is to establish autonomy and a sense of moral self that transcends

group conformity. The conception of self in relationships in middle and late

adolescence is the focus of this chapter.