Identity is a new way of thinking about oneself that emerges during adolescence. It involves a sense of self-unity, accompanied by a feeling that the self has continuity over time. Identity achievement during adolescence serves as a basis for adult expectations and goals. As individuals enter early adulthood they use their current understanding of whom they are to develop a lifespan construct.
The process of identity development begins with children’s awareness that they are separate and unique individuals. Erikson was the first major psychological theorist to develop the notion of an adolescent identity crisis. To develop a sense of identity amidst the confusion, adolescents need to try their identity on a variety of roles and must often test extremes before settling on a considered course. With their sense of Identity in flux, teens will often turn to peer groups for the missing sense of belonging. This explains some of the cult-like tendencies amongst early adolescents to worship the same heroes, according to the author. The process of separation from parents is a natural one. At this stage adolescents often reject their parents, and all that they stand for is that they can make a clean break from childhood as they attempt to form an identity of their own. Erikson was the first major psychological theorist to develop the notion of an adolescent identity crisis. To develop a sense of identity, adolescents need to try their identity on a variety of roles. With their sense of Identity in flux, teens will often turn to peer groups for the missing sense of belonging. At this stage adolescents often reject their parents, and all that they stand for.
Erikson’s interest in identity began in childhood. According to Erikson, identity is an intense analysis and exploration of different ways of looking at oneself. Identity achievement during adolescence serves as a basis for our adult expectations and goals. Eriks on identity as a subjective sense as well as an observable quality of personal sameness and continuity.
The present classification divides retardation into mild, moderate, severe, and profound. These categories, along with specific characteristics for each category, are shown below.
MILDRETARDATION (IQ 50-70): People are not noticed as retarded by the casual observer. They can acquire practical skills and useful reading and arithmetic to sixth-grade level. They can usually achieve social and vocational skills necessary for self-maintenance but is slower to walk, feed themselves, and talk than most children. They can be guided toward social adjustment. They may need occasional guidance and support when under unusual social or economic stress.
MODERATE (IQ 36-50): People under this category show more delay in motor especially in speech. They respond to training in various self-help activities. They can learn simple communication, can perform simple tasks under elementary health and safety habits, and sheltered conditions; participates in simple manual skills; does not progress simple recreation; travels alone in familiar places; usually incapable of self-maintenance.
SEVERERETARDATION (IQ 20-35): These people exhibit marked delays in motor development; little or no communication skill; may respond to training in the elementary self-help, for example, self-feeding. Usually walks, barring specific disability, has some understanding of speech and some response; can profit from systematic habit training, can conform to daily routines and repetitive activities; needs continuing direction and supervision in a protective environment.
PROFOUNDRETARDATION (IQ below 20): Under this category, there is gross retardation; minimal capacity for functioning in sensorimotor areas; obvious delays in all areas of development; shows basic emotional responses; may respond to skillful training in the use of legs, hands, and jaws; needs close supervision, may walk, need nursing care, have primitive speech, usually benefits from regular physical activity; incapable of self-maintenance.
Mental retardation has many causes. Some are genetic accidents, such as Mongolism or Down’s syndrome, which are caused by an extra chromosome. Some are caused by physiological problems, such as cretinism, which results from thyroid deficiency. Some are due to physical factors such as not receiving enough oxygen before birth. And many are simply a combination of hereditary and environmental factors – the parents were retarded and did not provide a stimulating home environment for the children.
Major stress can be caused by anything from a natural disaster to rape, from unemployment to wars. This section briefly explains some factors influencing the severity of stress, their effects, and coping mechanisms. Natural disasters – including earthquakes, floods, and fires – produce severe stress. At first in the shock stage, the victim is stunned and apathetic and sometimes amnesic for the stressful event. In the suggestible state, victims are passive and ready to do whatever rescue workers tell them to do. In the recovery stage emotional balance is regained, but anxiety often persists, and the victims recount experiences over and over again. In later stages, survivors may feel guilty because they lived while others died. In extreme cases, severely stressful events can cause a psychological disorder known as post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Unemployment is also a major source of stress. A number of studies revealed that many of the workers who lost their job reported suffering from high blood pressure, heavy smoking, alcoholism, and anxiety. The deterioration or end of a family relationship is one of the stressors and one of the frequent reasons why people seek psychotherapy. If one spouse wants to continue the marriage, and the other initiates the divorce, then the one initiating the divorce may feel guilt at hurting his or her partner. The rejected spouse may feel anger and humiliation. People commonly use defensive mechanisms particularly denial and projection to cope with the impact of divorce or separation.
Following the death of a loved one, people generally experience severe stress which is known as bereavement. In bereavement people commonly experience strong feelings of grief and loss. Normal grief begins with numbness and progresses through months of distress in which anger, apathy, depression may all come together. People may cope with this phase defensively by using denial or displacement.