Identity Role in Mentality Development

Identity vs. Role Confusion

Development of a person is an incredibly sophisticated process that depends on numerous factors impacting the psyche and resulting in the appearance of particular behavioral patterns, desires, values, and interests. A set of these aspects form the mentality of an individual. Psychologists state that the period from 12 to 18 years has a critical impact on its formation as during this very stage young people start to explore their independence and develop a sense of self (Cherry, 2017). This phase is also characterized by the appearance of identity vs. role confusion that affects individuals who try to find their way.

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The nature of this opposition could be explained by the divergence in a persons understanding of himself/herself and the way surrounding people see him/her. Nevertheless, identity could be defined as a conscious sense of self that a person elaborates in social interaction by gaining new experiences and improving his/her understanding of fundamentals of his/her self (Wicks-Nelson, 2014). This process is critical for any human being as it predetermines the role he/she will play in society and basic behavioral patterns. For this reason, in the majority of cases, this stage is associated with numerous crises that emerge because of the lack of confidence and desire to understand the nature of self better (Wicks-Nelson, 2014). Identity confusion, or a false image of a persons nature, might also occur at this stage.

As for the roles and role confusion, these are other components of the opposition. The fact is that every individual faces numerous expectations from parents, teachers, friends, communities. These expectations introduce diverse limits that shape a persons behavior and make him/her perform a particular role. It also remains significant for an adolescent who looks for his/her self and tries to understand whether to follow these recommendations and play the role or not. Therefore, a role confusion happens when an individual does not understand expectations associated with him/her or cannot accept them.

In such a way, identity and role confusion are crucial in the life of a person and his/her development. Arising from similar causes, they, however, are completely different. Identity confusion is the persons inability to find a self and evolve according to it while role confusion is the lack of other people’s expectations understanding or failure to follow them. Both these phenomena impact adolescents during their formation stage and in their adulthood.

Identity Achievement

The phase of adolescents active investigation and exploration of this world is extremely important for their future lives as it helps to develop specific values, beliefs, behavioral patterns, and judgments that a person will use during his/her lifespan. In such a way, the successful formulation of the above-mentioned aspects during the exploration phase could be determined as identity achievement (Shatkin & Karp, 2015). It could happen only after a teen gains enough experience to create his/her own set of values that will shape the mentality. Identity achievement goes after the identity crisis which significantly impacts a person and makes him/her reconsider perspectives on particular things (Wicks-Nelson, 2014). The unique importance of identity achievement could be evidenced by the fact that it preconditions the persons choice of the occupation or the sphere of activity. In other words, having shaped his/her identity, a person starts to move to achieve his/her newly formulated goals.


Cherry, K. (2017). Identity vs. role confusion. Web.

Shatkin, J., & Karp, H. (2015). Child & adolescent mental health: A practical, all-in-one guide. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

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Wicks-Nelson, R. (2014). Abnormal child and adolescent psychology. New York, NY: Routledge.

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StudyCorgi. "Identity Role in Mentality Development." October 31, 2020.


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