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Rily M.

Shannon Flynt
PSY 1100
April 24, 2016
Reflecting on The Lifespan Human Development Perspective
Ever since I was a young boy I wanted to be a Psychologist, but upon
leaning about a few of the subjects overarching concepts, my plans have
taken a turn. Ive found that the field of psychology is for people just as
insane as the patients they will come to diagnose. Furthermore, these
psychologists create the filters that separate the sane from the insane, but
who can really say which is which. Actually none of that is true, but from
what model should one create a definition of sanity? Perhaps there is no
need for a solid definition, we simply need to look at how an individual
changes with time and the relationships they have along the way. Then we
ask ourselves how we affected others and what effects others had on us.
That brings us to our main concept, The Lifespan Human Development
Perspective (LHD). LHD is an approach to the study of human development
that takes into account all phases of life, not just childhood or adulthood
and recognizes that growth over the lifespan is multidirectional, multicontextual, multicultural, multidisciplinary, and plastic (Berger, 2014). It is
important to study development from this perspective to better understand
how and why any person from any place at any age, can change over time.

There are many challenging steps faced throughout our lives, some
more challenging than others. In particular there is one that requires
special attention, a period described by Erik Erikson as lifes fifth
psychological crisis, where we face identity achievement or role confusion.
Negotiating the complexities of finding ones own identity is the primary
task of adolescence (Erikson, 1968). Identity achievement is of dire
importance when it comes to overall life satisfaction. Ones identity can be
thought of as an amalgamation of several sub-identities, religious, political,
vocational, and sexual. These all come together to help a person answer the
question, who am I? Achieving ones identity can be an extremely difficult,
and may not always stick around for the long haul as identity is susceptible
to change. Coping strategies for this stage can be outlined by four specific
areas: role confusion, foreclosure, moratorium, and finally, identity
achievement. Role confusion is the flip side to identity achievement when
one has a lack of commitment and may seem completely unconcerned about
their future. Role confusion can often lead people to live unhealthy and
unsatisfying lives. Next comes foreclosure, in which a person accepts family
or cultural values and customs without exploring alternatives and without
questioning or analyzing. Foreclosure is a bigger contributor to identity
than most realize, especially when it comes to ones religious identity.
Moratorium can be simply described as the procrastination of making
identity achievement decisions, for example, changing your field of study
multiple times to explore more options. We then come to identity

achievement, which Erikson described as when we have reconsidered the

goals and values of our parents and culture, accepting some and discarding
others, discerning our own identity. It seems that although identity
achievement may sound trivial to some, many of us never resonate with a
single identity; we seem to follow societal trends to increase our esteem and
confidence through peers rather than ourselves.
Why have I chosen to focus on identity achievement? Personally, one
of the hardest questions to answer is who am I? Not because I feel as
though I dont have an identity but because I simply cant put the answer to
words. This reaction has always confused me, how can I have such a strong
sense of my identity, yet Im unable to verbalize it. This is why the area of
identity has always interested me, leaning new language to describe ones
identity is insightful and grants one new perspectives. I believe that identity
is something that doesnt receive enough attention, too many people just
sketch out their identities rather than putting them down in pen. Learning
strategies for self-exploration is invaluable if one expects to truly achieve
their identity.
I recently had an experience with my mother where she felt she had
lost her identity. Let me first tell you that my mother gave birth to me in her
senior year of high school; so when everyone else was of exploring the
world for themselves trying to figure out who they are, my mother had me
to take care of. We were poor and young, and developed a strong
relationship out of necessity to keep each other alive and well. In turn my

mothers identity was simply that, being my mother Fast forward twenty
years as I prepare to leave home, my mother having delayed many personal
growing stages to raise me, faces an identity crisis. Having been blessed
enough to receive the education I have, my mother and I had the tools to
discover, together, our independent identities. With the right resources one
can truly enlighten themself, which is something I hope everyone can
experience. If not for my mothers and my fresh identities we could never
have been able to muster the determination to earn what we truly want
from life.
To quickly retouch on my inability to verbalize my identity, Ill say that
it may just be that my identity has only been a recent discovery or that I still
have many more thing to discover before I can talk about who I am. I hope
its the latter.


Berger, Kathleen S. (2014). Invitation to The Life Span (2nd ed.) New York,
NY: Worth Publishers.
Erikson, Erik H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York, NY: Norton.