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Final pape.r: Identity option

Psyc 21 – Final pa.per: Identity option

Paraphrasing Erik Erikson, identity achievement is the horizon goal of all human psychological development. For the “identity” option, you will choose a cultural identity and investigate how it develops in our current social-historical context. There should be an emphasis on the child-adolescent development of this identity and the formative experiences in childhood-adolescence associated with this identity.

Possible identity groups include those of various religions, races, classes, ethnicities (e.g. second-generation Salvadoran Americans), mental health disorders (e.g. girls with autism), gender affiliations (e.g. non-binary or transgender), etc. You will explore the main struggles and formative experiences of this group, relate your research to existing identity theory, and describe what it might look like for this group to achieve a healthy identity. You can choose an identity group that you belong to, or one that you are simply interested in learning more about.

A complete pa.per will include the following elements:


Introduces a cultural identity in a way that generates interest for the reader, and places the identity group in a historical context. How did this identity come to be (or has it always been)?


Explains why this identity is unique and important, and differentiates it from other cultural groups. What are the main struggle(s) that define the collective experience of those in this identity group? What are the formative experiences in the childhood or adolescence of those in this identity group? Gives insight into what it is like to inhabit this identity through some combination of interviews, news articles, published stories, movies/documentaries, and/or your own experience.

Identity theory

Demonstrates understanding of the foundational theories on identity (i.e. why identity is an important aspect of development), and particularly identity research that is closely related to the one you have selected (if possible). Credits these findings, but also highlights the need for more tailored research on the particular identity you are writing about.


What might it look like for members of this group to develop a healthy, confident identity, and to overcome some of the main struggles they face given their experience in society? (This can be partly based on other identity models that illustrate healthy identity development in other, more well-researched identities.)

Requirements for the
  • 2 pages of written minimum (title page and references do not count towards limit)
  • 12 pt, Times New Roman or Arial font
  • Double-spaced (BUT do not put extra spaces between paragraphs)
  • Pa.per should be organized with introduction to the topic, body paragraphs explaining the psychological disorder or psychoactive drug (see writing prompts above), and conclusion
  • 3 sources minimum
    • Sources must be scholarly (i.e., scientific journal articles, reference books)
      • You can use the textbook, but it won’t count towards the minimum number of sources
    • Every fact or claim that is not logically self-evident, or is not common knowledge, should have an in-text citation that relates to a reference on the references page
  • APA format for citations (within-text/embedded citations and references page)
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