Fulfillment at Any Age

How to remain productive and healthy into your later years

Are You Having an Identity Crisis?

Identity crisis is a term we normally associate with adolescence. However, adults continue to grapple with identity issues throughout life. Find out how you rate with this 4-question identity quiz that will test your own status on identity issues no matter what your age. Read More

Very interesting article!

I recently graduated from college and have been going through the moratorium identity in terms of career for about a year and a half now.

Excited and enthusiastic about the working world upon graduation, I ventured out with my degree clasped in my hand and snagged me a minimum-wage job at a sporting goods store.

After four months of working there I was depressed and very, very unhappy. I couldn't figure out how my coworkers seemed okay working a job where after bills, rent, and buying food there was very little money to save up for anything else! Realizing the job was making my life a living hell and I was getting nowhere fast, I quit and moved back home with my parents. I took a month or two to nurse myself back to health and happiness. I found a bearable job just to make some money.

Since then I've been trying to figure out what would make me happy career-wise. Its been really frustrating and embarrassing at times, but I'm hoping I will figure out a career that will give me lifelong happiness and satisfaction. My goal: Identity Achievement. My means of figuring it out: Exploration.

I have two questions:

What tasks are involved in getting through the moratorium identity status? (Can one speed the process up? Or is it just an identity status that progresses on its own time?)

Another identity can develop during diffusion called "negative identity". This identity is defined by "being what one is not" and is quite rebellious. An example: the minister's son who is a crazy drunken, smoking, atheistic, womanizer. Can one develop that identity when in the moratorium phase?

Susan, I've really enjoyed reading your article. I've never read about this topic before!

reply to AP

"People high on commitment have a firm sense of who they are and feel strongly about the choices they have made."

I would say contact your psychologist and ask for help!

Never had

an identity crisis. I joined the army right out of high school and have been going ever since.

I have always had my own thoughts and never followed the crowd. At age 65, I am a freshman because I wrote about my life and won a scholarship.

I was standin' up and talkin' back and have always known I was here for a reason and that is to make a difference in the world.


There's a big, gaping area far more important than politics left out... Race , ethnicity, heritage. What am I ? Therefore, who am I?
In this, the answer is... They say something... I don't believe it... I'm not allowed to explore... I'm not allowed to know. My entire identity i null & void, and will be permanently if they won't let me know. Bad enough to slit my wrists over.

Already finished I guess

I am already in the achieved phase even though I'm only 16.

Moronic indeed

After another day of kicking himsekf in the nuts yet again for floating in moratorium, he seeks solace in the psych test...which kicks him in the nuts yet again for floating in moratorium



you need to take that comment and apply it on yourself. Like, the moment you read it you realize it.

I really liked this article

I really liked this article many of us are familiar with the term and may have an idea of what it means. Identity crisis is defined as "the failure to achieve ego identity during adolescence." We have all had a stage in our adolescence where we wanted to find who we are and what we were going to be. That is where identity crisis comes from. After going through adolescence into adulthood, you should have an idea of who we are. Not knowing who you are, where you belong, or where you may go, this is considered a identity crisis. This article was very informative and helpful in understanding the definition of identity crisis.

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Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her latest book is The Search for Fulfillment.


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