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The Influence of Culture on Identity Development



Culture shapes identity over time through the mechanism of social learning which affects all aspects of an individual’s personality and lead to the development of unique belief systems.

“It is very interesting to note that cultural viewpoints on a particular topic can influence the thoughts of all individuals who relate to that particular culture.” Personal values and social norms that form the basis for the decision-making process and social behaviour throughout life often shaped during adolescence.

This implies that the role of family, ethnic group and the immediate social network is very critical during the formative years. “It has been suggested that adolescents who migrate (to the culturally different country or city) or those who move and grow up in a family or a society where the rules are different” (Poston, 1990).

From what they first learned (such as in foster homes), and parental control/authority and family obligations are different from peers, may experience an identity crisis that creates conflicts. “People maintain their cultural integrity and sense of pride in their cultural heritage by continuing to speak in their native language, practising religious ceremonies and following traditions and lifestyle.

Culture is our way of life and hence makes it easy to identify a person’s background, behavioral traits and origin.


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