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date: 01 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

A critical analysis is presented of Erikson’s theory of identity development and the field of identity development research. Erikson’s proposal of identity development as a human universal is critiqued by examining the applicability of this idea in human phylogenetic history and across world regions today, with a focus on adolescence and emerging adulthood. The current state of research in identity develop is also critiqued, with the conclusion that, because most research to date has been based on the identity status model, and because this model and the methods used to investigate it are of dubious validity, much remains to be known about the most basic, fundamental questions of identity development. The narrative approach is advocated as a more promising model for future investigations, and the questions to be addressed by this approach are summarized.

Keywords: emerging adulthood, identity status, narrative method, Erikson, culture

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