A Theory of Adult Identity Processes

  • Susan Krauss Whitbourne


The primary definition of adult identity that forms the basis for the theory of adult identity processes comes from Erikson’s (1963) use of the term “identity” to mean the individual’s answer to the question “Who am I?” Erikson’s general answer to this question was that identity is a psychosocial entity: a product of individual factors unique to the individual combined with experiential factors derived from social forces. The issue of establishing a sense of identity was considered by Erikson to be a primary focus of adolescents. However, he also considered identity to be a part of the personality that was essential for the successful resolution of psychosocial issues later in adulthood, and as a part of the personality that could be reexamined at any point after its initial emergence.


Factory Worker Identity Process Good Person Identity Projection Adult Identity 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Krauss Whitbourne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Massachusetts at AmherstAmherstUSA

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