Why a Strong Sense of Self Brings Good Mental Health

Researchers have found that adolescents who actively search for a personal identity are more likely to describe themselves in consistent and positive terms, reinforcing their values. 

What's the Latest Development?

In a study of 508 Dutch adolescents, researchers have found that building and clarifying one's personal identity is an important phase in feeling fulfilled as an adult and retaining good mental health. Measurements were taken of two principle metrics: personal identity, defined as "the degree to which one has developed a clear, internally consistent bundle of goals, values, and beliefs," and self-concept clarity, or "individuals’ tendency to feel sure of themselves and describe themselves in positive, consistent terms." The team of researchers found a positive correlation between personal identity and self-concept clarity. 

What's the Big Idea?

Among the adolescents, a strong personal commitment to a specific course of action seemed to reinforce a sense of clarity about who a person thought he or she was. That sense of clarity created positive feedback, allowing them to stay committed to their ideals more easily. The study concludes that "striking the right balance between making commitments and reconsidering commitments may be key for adolescent identity development." The research recognizes that some reconsideration of commitments is necessary for healthy development, but that daily struggles to develop a sense of identity may have negative outcomes. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Brain study finds circuits that may help you keep your cool

Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.

Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP/ Getty Images
Mind & Brain

MIT News

The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.

Keep reading Show less

34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
  • The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
  • According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
Keep reading Show less

How pharmaceutical companies game the patent system

When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.

Top Video Splash
  • When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
  • When this happens in the pharmaceutical world, certain companies stay at the top of the ladder, through broadly-protected patents, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
  • Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation — "tweaks" — the same as product invention.