The term identity crisis was coined by psychologist Erik Erikson back in the 1930s. It refers to an inability to achieve an identity or to struggle with finding an identity. Many people experiencing an identity crisis feel like they don't know who they are, what they want, or what makes unique. Identity crises can be uncomfortable to go through, but they are not abnormal, and as long as one does not become "stuck" in these sensations, they will pass.


1. Historical Significance of the Identity Crisis

Erik Erikson discussed the identity crisis in his theory of psychosocial developmental stages in children and adolescents. He believed adolescents go through an "identity cohesion versus role confusion stage." If they are not successful during this developmental stage, an identity crisis may follow. Erikson also said adolescents who fail to separate and become individuals, due to parental pressures or challenges at home, are more likely to experience identity crises.

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