Date of Defense



Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Ben Atchison

Second Advisor

Dr. James Henry

Third Advisor

Dr. Donald Cooney


How does an adolescent develop their sense of self identity? How would they define themselves? How does a young person define what is important to them or what they are passionate about? Who or what may contribute to their sense of personal identity? How does the adolescent synthesize these influences to develop a clear personal identity? The time period of adolescence is a trying time by most standards. It is a period when the young person is attempting to make sense of changes occurring within themselves and within their environment. There are also new expectations and a new variety of influences during this time period. This literature review attempts to identify the development of adolescent self identity. Internal and external influences were both examined. Internal influences examined were identity formation, career interests, and views on maturity. External influences include religion, race, media, parents, and peers. It is important to analyze these influences because they may affect the adolescent's outward behavior. "Deficits in social competence have been linked to unhappiness, learning disabilities, conduct disorders, externalizing and internalizing problems, and lower school performance". (Barber and Erickson, 2001). An adolescent's self identity is clearly linked to both internal and external factors both influencing outward behavior.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only