Family is a unique relationship context that influences the contents and processes of identity. The identity of individuals emerges, at least in part, from being members of a family. Moreover, the family context influences not only the development of one’s personal identity as a family member but also other aspects of personal identity. Family is not a neutral environment for identity development. On the contrary, it deeply affects the individual process, starting during adolescence, that leads to the development of one’s identity (Grotevant & Cooper, 1986). In this chapter, first we briefly review the main theories that have tried to outline a definition of family, from which we have derived our own definition. Second, we analyze the concept of family identity. We address the topic of family identity at three different levels: (1) at the group level, which is the specific identity of the family as a group; (2) at the couple subsystem level, since the couple has its own identity and, thus, its own set of potentials to be pursued; (3) at the individual subsystem level, which is the component of individual identity that comes from being part of a specific family group. Finally, we aim to describe family members’ identity processes and how they are affected by the family system and in particular by the process of mutual differentiation.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospitehandbook of identity theory and research
Numero di pagine19
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2011


  • famiglia
  • family
  • identity
  • identità


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