Thursday, June 9, 2011

Self concept in adolescents

Erik Erikson described the stage of adolescents as "identity vs. role confusion". At this stage adolescents are asking themselves "Who am I" and "Where do I fit it" Chapter 9 defined self concept as a persons knowledge of themselves organized into a schema or framework from which information about self can be retrieved and evaluated. These concepts or schemas are derived from teachers, family, and most importantly peers. Peer pressure is extremely high at this stage.

I have a 15 year old daughter, the last teenager out of my 4 children. She is going through this stage. Peers influence her clothes, mannerisms, and attitude. She is a fairly easy going girl and is friends with different groups. Many of her friends are academically gifted but immature, others are artistically talented both musically and creatively but socially awkward, and the remaining group is athletic but not academically motivated. Each group doesn't socialize with the other making things very difficult. She really doesn't know where she fits in and who SHE is.

I was reading the domains of contingencies of self worth relating to college students and they also relate to middle and high school students. These students also depend on approval, physical appearance, competition, academic competence and family support. Self esteem depends on these characteristics. Eventually most adolescents discover their identity and self concept through self knowledge, gaining knowledge about oneself. It is a long rode but a journey everyone must take. Here is a clip you might enjoy. It should bring back memories of high school all over again.


  1. I totally understand your daughter. I was the same way in school and I still am today. For me, I see it as I do not have to fit in a group. Hanging out with different types of people gave me the chance to learn different things. In high school I was a cheerleader and in band and I really lived the best of both worlds. She can't help the fact that she is a people person. I personally think it is a great trait

  2. Thanks I do to. My only concern is that she doesn't alienate one because of another. Peer pressure and unsure of oneself can cause behaviors that are uncharacteristic of that person. So far she has tried to balance everything, and from what it sounds like you did also. It really can be the best of both worlds.

  3. I completely agree with what you are saying about peer pressure and trying to see where you fit in. In college I became best friends with this girl I went to high school with. She was a soccer player in high school and I was a cheerleader. We just never got the opportunity to really become friends since our social groups never really mingled with one another. It's sad because all this time we didn't talk yet we are extremely similar and inseparable now. It's really good that your daughter is still friends with people from different social groups because you really never know what you're missing out on.

  4. Hi Robin, I appreciate you sharing about your daughter and the stage that she is going through right now. It is part of the development that we all had to navigate through. Some glide through effortlessly while others may hit some rough waters along the journey. It sounds like your daughter is navigating her journey pretty well, considering she has such a diverse group of friends. It is amazing that she has not gotten worn out of juggling the groups and given up on maintaining the friendships. She definitely has strong interpersonal skills.
    I loved the movie clip. It does bring back memories from high school.

  5. I can totaly see how your daughter's friends have a great influence on her. Nowadays kids are not so much focused on being individualized but are just trying to keep up with the "Jones". Your daughter wants acceptance all around it seems from her friends and that is cool but she is at that age where she should have sometime to hrself and figure out and identify her sens of self. I think that growing up and even as an adult you want to feel that acceptance from your peers. I see kids now are growng up ina materialistic world, this is somthing that I commonly see with my younger siblings.