The transition from childhood to adulthood has evolved over time and appears different in every historical era. Adolescence is now currently described as three connected phases: period of changes, period of choices and period of identity investments. Examining the relationship between identity building and identification, the Author considers the construction of personal identfication as a central issue of adolescence. This complex process, based on the internalised images of parental figures, enhances the building of a sufficiently coherent personal representation of self, identity and personality. From a psychopathological point of view, the most important threat during adolescence is depression. The Author describes depression and it’s different manifestations (that go from hindrances in cognitive abilities to more serious attacks on the body, such as suicide attempts). Finally, the Author examines the function of secrets - a human need - that insure psychological autonomy and support the quest for complicity.
Keywords: Adolescence, psychopathology, identity, identifi cation, relationship with parental figures, threat of depression.