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Identity formation has to do with the complex manner in which human beings establish a unique view of self and is characterized by continuity and inner unity. It is therefore highly related to terms such as the self, self-concept, values, and personality development. The goal of personal identity formation is to establish a coherent view of self through the process of normal human development. Abnormal development could be viewed as the establishment of an incoherent self and characterized by discontinuity or the lack of inner unity. Although the benchmarks of identity formation are most easily observed at the adolescent and adult levels of development, a fledgling identity for a person develops during his/her childhood experiences. At the core of identity formation is the human personality, but psychologists have also employed this term to speak of subcategories such as racial, ethnic, social class, gender role, spiritual, and sexual identity. The term identity formation...

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© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Herman, W.E. (2011). Identity Formation. In: Goldstein, S., Naglieri, J.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development. Springer, Boston, MA.

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