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Pedersen, S. (1961). Personality Formation in Adolescence and its Impact Upon the Psycho-Analytical Treatment of Adults. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 42:381-388.

(1961). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 42:381-388

Personality Formation in Adolescence and its Impact Upon the Psycho-Analytical Treatment of Adults

Stefi Pedersen

According to Freud (6) all cultural progress is based upon the dynamic interplay between successive generations. To bring about this change is the essential task of puberty. Incestuous phantasies are gradually fading away and growing emotional detachment from parental authorities is taking place.

Because of the increasingly complicated structure of modern mass society this process is no longer confined to puberty but lasts throughout the whole period of adolescence, which generally passes into adulthood around the age of 25. This prolonged period of personality growth is now the focus of investigation. Important studies (1), (2), (4), (13) have been made on the transformation of superego and ego-ideals and of the development of a new identity, out of which the new equilibrium of the adult person emerges.

Since psycho-analytic research is mainly based upon the study of the single individual, the psycho-analyst is perhaps not always aware of the importance of this newly acquired identity of young people for the life of the nation as well as for the continuity of Western culture. The specific integration of traditional and modern values which each generation has to accomplish in adolescence fills the gap between the past and the future. It is an obligation to the past as well as an orientation towards the future. But the new and militant ego-ideals of the adolescents will in time be handed over to their children and are bound to become the superego of the coming generation.

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