Researchers who have looked at how people resolve identity crises have found that lives that are all capital and no crisis—all work and no exploration—feel rigid and conventional. On the other hand, more crisis than capital is a problem too.
As the concept of identity crisis caught on in the United States, Erikson himself warned against spending too much time in “disengaged confustion.” He was concerned that too many young people were “ in danger of becoming irrelevant.” Twentysomethings who take the time to explore and also have the nerve to make commitments along the way construct stronger identities. They have higher self-esteem and are more persevering and realistic. This path to identity is associated with a host of positive outcomes, including a clearer sense of self, greater life satisfaction, better stress management, stronger reasoning, and resistance to conformity.