Identity in Adolescence 4e: The Balance between Self and Other, 4th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Identity in Adolescence 4e

The Balance between Self and Other, 4th Edition

By Laura Ferrer-Wreder, Jane Kroger


212 pages

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This fully revised fourth edition of Identity in Adolescence: The Balance Between Self and Other presents four theoretical perspectives on identity development during adolescence and young adulthood and their practical implications for intervention. Ferrer-Wreder and Kroger consider adolescent identity development as the unique intersection of social and cultural forces in combination with individual factors that each theoretical model stresses in attempting to understand the identity formation process for contemporary adolescents.

Identity in Adolescence addresses the complex question of how adolescent identity forms and develops during adolescence and young adulthood and serves as the foundation for entering adult life. The book is unique in its presentation of four selected models that address this process, along with cutting-edge research and the implications that each of these models hold for practical interventions. This new edition has been comprehensively revised, with five completely new chapters and three that have been extensively updated. New special topics are also addressed, including ethnic, sexual, and gender identity development, the role of technology in adolescent identity development, and ongoing identity development beyond adolescence.

The book is essential reading for advanced undergraduate and graduate students studying adolescent development, self and social identity within developmental psychology, social psychology and clinical psychology, as well as practitioners in the fields of child welfare and mental health services, social work, youth and community work and counselling.


To say that the fourth edition of Identity in Adolescence has been updated is an understatement. Although Ferrer-Wreder and Kroger have retained the coverage of seminal work by Erikson and Blos, the book has been expanded to include many new and exciting developments in adolescent and young adult identity research that emerged since the last edition. This new edition includes chapters on narrative studies, sociocultural approaches, intersections of gender and sexuality, and technology and virtual identity. At its heart, this book embraces a lifespan and life-course approach to understanding where adolescents have ‘come from’ and are ‘going to’. It also takes very seriously the contexts in which adolescents are developing, holding onto the original theme of the balance between self and other, even virtual others. Infused with stories that illustrate the processes of adolescent identity development, this masterful revision provides students of adolescence and professionals working with youth a stimulating and rich resource. - Sheila K. Marshall, University of British Columbia

This fourth edition of Identity in Adolescence not only provides the most comprehensive review of the theoretical landscape of identity development in adolescence, but it also highlights critical contemporary issues facing identity scholars in our modern digital and global contexts. - Renee Galliher, Utah State University

The new fourth edition of Identity in Adolescence: The Balance between Self and Other addresses and critiques the foundational theories of identity (Erikson, Blos, Marcia, and others) while also looking ahead to contemporary themes, including life in the digital world, intersectionality of identities, and neurological underpinnings of identity. The volume is an important resource for professionals working with adolescents, as well as for parents and those setting policy affecting adolescents. Throughout, it takes a sympathetic view of adolescents and argues for greater understanding of the complex task of identity development in our increasingly identity-conscious world. - Harold D. Grotevant, Ph.D., Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

A re-written and updated version of a popular and authoritative book on the most important psychosocial challenge of adolescence: identity formation. New multi-cultural research and practical implications are presented, providing a useful basis for understanding and working with youth as they face the challenges of this crucial developmental stage. - James E. Marcia, Simon Fraser University

Table of Contents

Preface to the fourth edition                

Chapter 1: Adolescence and the problem of identity: Historical, sociocultural, and psychosocial views                

Historical approaches to adolescent identity

Sociocultural approaches to adolescent identity

Psychosocial approaches to adolescent identity

Adolescent identity in the context of life span development

Identity as the balance between self and other

The structure of this volume and its chapters



Chapter 2: Adolescence as identity synthesis: Erikson's psychosocial approach                

Erikson the person

The nature of ego identity

Identity: development and resolutions

An optimal sense of identity

Identity as a stage in the life-cycle scheme

Criticism of Erikson's identity concept

Measuring ego identity

Marcia’s identity statuses

Historical backdrop to Erikson's and Marcia's psychosocial models

Research findings on adolescent identity exploration and commitment processes

Gender and ethnicity in identity status research

Current directions in identity research

Criticism of the identity status construct

Implications for social response



Chapter 3: Adolescence as a second individuation process: Blos's psychoanalytic perspective and an object relations view                

Blos the person

The nature of character formation

The challenges detailed

Character formation through adolescence

A healthy character structure

Criticism of Blos's construct and the second individuation process

Theoretical elaborations of the second individuation process of adolescence: Links with identity

Measuring the adolescent separation–individuation process

Historical backdrop to Blos's separation–individuation challenge

Research findings on adolescent separation–individuation

Current directions in adolescent separation—individuation research

Implications for social response



Chapter 4: Identity as life story: Narrative understandings of adolescent identity development                

Pasupathi the person

The nature of narrative identity

Optimal narrative identity

Narrative identity as part of lifespan personality development

Criticism of the three layer framework including narrative identity

Measuring narrative identity

Research findings on narrative identity in adolescence

Implications for social response



Chapter 5: Identity as rooted in society and culture       

Sociocultural approaches to identity

Adolescent ethnic identity development

Rivas-Drake the person

The nature of culture and cultural identity

The nature of ethnic identity

The integrative model for ethnic and racial identity development

An optimal sense of ethnic identity

Criticism of the Integrative model of ethnic and racial identity development

Measuring ethnic identity

Research findings on ethnic identity development in adolescence

The present-day salience of ethnic identity

Current directions in ethnic identity research and theory

Implications for social response



Chapter 6: Intersectionality, and the confluence of gender and sexual identity

Bridging ideas: Intersectionality and identity integration

Key concepts and reflections about gender identity

Key concepts about sexual identity and reflections on the intersection of sexual and gender identity

Research exemplars



Chapter 7: The forging of a brave new virtual identity      

Globalization, adolescence, and identity development

Generation Z’s digital landscape

Research exemplars



Chapter 8: Identity beyond adolescence: What comes next?                

Stability and change in identity beyond adolescence: Theory

Stability and change in identity beyond adolescence: Research

Adolescent identity resolutions and the psychosocial tasks of adulthood: Theory

Adolescent identity resolutions and the psychosocial tasks of adulthood: Research

Summary and conclusions: Identity as the balance between self and other


Name/Subject Index               

About the Authors

Laura Ferrer-Wreder, Ph.D., is a Docent (Associate Professor) in the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University. She has published widely and her current research focuses on advancing the study of positive youth development from a global perspective. She is one of the co-developers of an identity intervention called the Changing Lives Program.

Jane Kroger, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Developmental Psychology at University of Tromsø, Norway. Previous books include Identity Development: Adolescence through Adulthood and Discussions on Ego Identity, along with numerous research investigations on identity development during adolescence and adulthood.

About the Series

Adolescence and Society

In the 20 years since it began, this series has published some of the key texts in the field of adolescent studies. The series has covered a very wide range of subjects, almost all of them being of central concern to students, researchers and practitioners. A mark of its success is that a number of books have gone to second and third editions, illustrating its popularity and reputation.

The primary aim of the series is to make accessible to the widest possible readership important and topical evidence relating to adolescent development. Much of this material is published in relatively inaccessible professional journals, and the objective of the books has been to summarise, review and place in context current work in the field, so as to interest and engage both an undergraduate and a professional audience.

The intention of the authors is to raise the profile of adolescent studies among professionals and in institutions of higher education. By publishing relatively short, readable books on topics of current interest to do with youth and society, the series makes people more aware of the relevance of the subject of adolescence to a wide range of social concerns.

The books do not put forward any one theoretical viewpoint. The authors outline the most prominent theories in the field and include a balanced and critical assessment of each of these. Whilst some of the books may have a clinical or applied slant, the majority concentrate on normal development.

The readership rests primarily in two major areas: the undergraduate market, particularly in the fields of psychology, sociology and education; and the professional training market, with particular emphasis on social work, clinical and educational psychology, counselling, youth work, nursing and teacher training.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Adolescent