Keynote speaker


Moving the Identity Field Forward: Bridging Developmental and Clinical Research

Koen Luyckx, KU Leuven, Belgium

Identity development constitutes a core psychosocial task throughout one’s life and much research has demonstrated the important psychosocial implications of identity for daily functioning. As identity research largely emerged from clinical observations, there has been a long tradition of research focusing on identity and psychosocial functioning. Recently, there has been increasing research and theorizing again focusing on the link between identity and psychopathology: do certain identity processes make individuals vulnerable for displaying psychopathology? Or, conversely, can one’s identity also protect against experiencing pathological symptoms and behaviors? This (renewed) interest in linking identity to psychopathological symptoms may be partially driven by the fact that identity is being recognized in DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) as a major factor in personality disorders. The present lecture focuses on the link between identity and psychopathology. Emerging research lines are identified and recent research conducted at the research center of K. Luyckx will be discussed as a sample case of how developmental theorizing on identity (mainly focusing on neo-Eriksonian process-oriented identity research) can yield insights with respect to the emergence and development of psychopathological behavior. With respect to psychopathology, the main focus will be on non-suicidal self-injury and disturbed eating behaviors.

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