The aspect of adulthood that I chose to examine for this discussion is identity development within individuation. Identity development is the time in which an individual tries to figure out who they are, in relation to early adulthood, this is seen as an individual trying to choose their major at college. Throughout this process in early adulthood, individuals engage in this vicious cycle of deciding something and then looking back on said decision to see if it was the right one (Berk, 2014).
In terms of individuation, this process allows for an individual to really look inwards and construct their own identity, as the individual is constantly reviewing said decisions. Although this process allows individuals to self-realize, there is still a constant want and need to fit into society, individuals who do not make a commitment tend to be anxious, adjust poorly to new situations, depressed, along with other negative behaviors (Berk, 2014). One of the biggest challenges faced between the idea of individuation and identity development, in our college example, is the idea of choosing a major that the individual is interested in or choosing a major that your friends are participating in.
A challenge that can be seen cross-culturally about individuation as well, is the idea of a culture that supports individuation, versus one that supports conformism. Take Japan and the United States, for example, Japan’s identity development is one that shows a very linear line of development as they value others’ opinions of themselves, stable relationships, and assurance with personal relationships (Rothbaum, 2003) whereas the United States values a more individualistic approach on development as children can focus on their personal preferences, and an emphasis on trust in relationships (Rothbaum, 2003).
Although one style of identity development has not been proven to be better than the other, it can clearly be seen that there are several differences.
Berk, L. E. (2014). Development through the lifespan (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Rothbaum, F., Pott, M., Azuma, H., Miyake, K., Weisz, J. (2003). The Development of close relationships in Japan and the United States: Paths of symbiotic harmony and generative tension. Child Development. Vol. 71 (5) p1121-1142