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Posted: February 9th, 2023

Identity development

Many consider early and middle adulthood times of relatively little growth, but adults encounter a multitude of tasks and changes during these phases. For instance, the quality of relationships change, vocational choice might be solidified, formal education might be completed, parenting responsibilities might be present, and changes in physical capacities might set limits on behavior. An adult’s perceived success or failure can influence his/her sense of self and ability to accomplish tasks and navigate changes in early and middle adulthood.

In the United States, individuation is an important aspect of adulthood. Individuation refers to processes by which you become a unique individual with a distinct sense of identity. The process is sometimes identified as separation-individuation (Berger, 2016). Adulthood is the period in which roles change from that of a dependent child to a more autonomous individual with different responsibilities and commitments.

Boucher and Maslach (2009) discuss how the type of culture—individualistic or collectivistic—can influence the degree of individuation. Think about how cultural differences can influence the changes that adults face during early and middle adulthood. The influence of culture on these changes impacts individuation. Consider collectivist societies that value conformity over individuality. How does that impact an individual’s sense of uniqueness?

For this Discussion, you will examine individuation and cultural differences in individuation.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Read the introduction to this Discussion related to individuation.
Select one aspect of adulthood (identity development, vocational development, relationships, or parenting).

Post a description of the aspect of adulthood you selected. Then, explain individuation in terms of that aspect. Include an explanation of the challenges that might influence individuation. Be specific and provide examples from the Learning Resources. Use proper APA format and citations.


Berk, L. E. (2023). Development through the lifespan (7th ed.). Sage.
Chapter 13, “Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Adulthood” (pp. 436-466)
Chapter 14, “Emotional and Social Development in Early Adulthood” (pp. 468-501)
Chapter 15, “Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Adulthood” (pp. 506-534)
Chapter 16, “Emotional and Social Development in Middle Adulthood” (pp. 536-564)
Berger, B. (2016). An unexpected war of ages: Clinical issues and conflicts related to young and middle adult development Links to an external site.. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 86(1), 35–44. doi:10.1080/00377317.2016.1116296Links to an external site.
Boucher, H. C., & Maslach, C. (2009). Culture and individuation: The role of norms and self-construals Links to an external site.. Journal of Social Psychology, 149(6), 677–693.
Identity development”
Identity development refers to the process by which individuals come to understand who they are and what they believe in. Individuation in terms of identity development refers to the process by which individuals separate themselves from their families of origin and establish a unique sense of self.
Challenges that can influence individuation in terms of identity development include pressure to conform to societal norms and expectations. In collectivist societies, there is often a strong emphasis on fitting in with the group, which can make it difficult for individuals to establish a unique sense of self. Additionally, in some cultures, there may be a strong expectation for individuals to take on specific roles and responsibilities based on their gender or family status, which can also limit the ability to individuate.
For example, in some traditional societies, women may be expected to prioritize their role as a wife and mother over their own individual needs and desires. This can make it difficult for them to establish a sense of self that is separate from their familial roles and responsibilities. In contrast, in more individualistic societies, there is often more emphasis on self-expression and personal growth, which can facilitate individuation.
Another challenge that can influence individuation in terms of identity development is the pressure to conform to the expectations of others. For example, in some cultures, there may be strong expectations for individuals to pursue specific careers or lifestyles, which can make it difficult for individuals to explore their own interests and passions. Furthermore, peer pressure can also play a role in limiting the ability to individuate.
Individuation in terms of identity development refers to the process by which individuals separate themselves from their families of origin and establish a unique sense of self, but the process can be influenced by societal norms and expectations, cultural values, and pressure to conform to the expectations of others. (Berger, 2016; Boucher & Maslach, 2009)

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