Module 7 : Erikson‟s Psycho-Social Theory of Development
Introduction of the 8 stages: Psychosocial („psycho‟ relating to the mind, brain, personality, etc. and „social‟ which means the external relationships and environment). Biopsychosocial, in which “bio” refers to life as in biological.
The theory is a basis for broad or complex discussion and analysis of personality and behavior, and also facilitating personal development – of self and others. It can help the teacher in becoming more knowledgeable and at the same time understanding of the various environmental factors that affect his own and his students‟ personality and behavior.
Syntonic – for the first listed “positive” disposition in each crisis. Dystonic – for the second listed “negative” disposition.
If a stage is managed well, we carry away a certain virtue or psychosocial strength which will help us through the rest of the stages of our lives.
Malignancy – it involves too little of the positive and too much of the negative aspects of the tasks, such as a person who can‟t trust others. Maladaptation – is not quite as bad and involves too much of the positive and too little of the negative such as a person who trusts too much.
Mutuality – reflects the effect of generation on each other, especially among families, and particularly between parents and children and grandchildren. Generativity – actually a named disposition with one of the crisis stages (Generativity v Stagnation, stage seven), reflects the significant relationship between adults and the best interest of children - one‟s own children, and in a way everyone else‟s children – the next generation, and all the following generation.
Psychosocial Crisis: The firststage is infancy, is approximatelythe first year or year and a halfof life. The goal is to developtrust without completelyeliminating the capacity formistrust. If the primarycaregivers, like the parents cangive the baby a sense offamiliarity, consistency, andcontinuity, then the baby willdevelop the feeling that theworld is a safe place to be, thatpeople are reliable and loving.
Maladaptation/Malignancy Sensory Maladjustment: Overly trusting, even gullible, this person cannot believe anyone would mean them harm, and will use all the defenses at their command to find an explanation or excuse for the person who did him wrong.
Withdrawal: characterized by depression, paran oia, and possibly psychosis.
VIRTUE If the proper balance is achieved, the child will develop the virtue of Hope.
STAGE TWO (Early Childhood)Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt
He begins to make choices and express his will. If encouraged, he develops a sense of autonomy and independence. In this stage Erikson believes that the child may develops a sense of doubt and shame manifested in feelings of worthless and incompetence. We should keep in mind that even something as innocent as laughing at the toddler‟s efforts can lead the child to feel deeply ashamed and to doubt his or her abilities.
Maladaptation/Malignancy Impulsiveness – a sort of shameless willfulness that leads you, in a later childhood and even adulthood, to jump into things without proper consideration of your abilities. Compulsiveness – feels as if their entire being rides on everything they do, and so everything must be done perfectly.
VIRTUE If you get the proper, positive balance of autonomy and shame and doubt, you will develop the virtue of willpower or determination.
STAGE THREE (Early Childhood)Initiative vs. Guilt
Psychosocial crisis: Child begins to explore his social and physical worlds discovering what he can accomplish. Erikson refers to this as a time for developing a sense of initiative or a positive attitude of personal accomplishment. At this time, the child gradually becomes aware of the various social roles presented by his environment. In Erikson‟s view, the basic influence during this period is the child‟s families who can help him learn to be responsible for his behavior and actions.
Maladaptation/Malignancy Ruthlessness – to be heartless or unfeeling or be “without mercy”. Inhibition - the inhibited person will not try things because “nothing ventured, nothing lost” and, particularly, nothing to feel guilty about.
VIRTUE A good balance leads to the psychosocial strengths of purpose.
STAGE FOUR (School-age)Industry vs. Inferiority Psychosocial Crisis: the child‟s world broadens technical skills are learned and feelings of competence, enlarged. Children enter new world of the neighborhood and the school. In Erikson‟s view, when children come to believe that they cannot achieve according to their school, family, or peers, their sense of mastery will give way to personal inferiority. Thus, they become incapable of facing the transitory adolescent years which lie directly ahead. Parents must encourage, teachers must care, peers must accept.
Maladaptation/Malignancy Narrow Virtuosity: we see this in children who aren‟t allowed to “be children” the ones that parents or teachers push into one area of competence, without allowing the development of broader interests. Inertia: this includes all of us who suffer from the “inferiority complexes” Alfred Adler talked about.
VIRTUE A happier thing is to develop the right balance of industry and inferiority – that is, mostly industry with just a touch of inferiority to keep us sensibly humble. Then we have the virtue called competency.
STAGE FIVE (Adolescence)Identity vs. Role Confusion
Psychosocial Crisis: According to Erikson, is characterized by an identity – formation crisis. The question “Who am I and what can I do when I become an adult?” confronts the adolescent. His struggle is based not only on societal demands as an emerging adult, but also on the pubescent age. Since an adolescent spends more time with his friend, the peer group now becomes an essential source of general rules of behavior.
Maladaptation/Malignancy Fanaticism – believes that his way is the only way. Repudiation – they reject their membership in the world of adults and, even more, they reject their need for an identity.
VIRTUE If you successfully negotiate this stage, you will have the virtue Erikson called fidelity.
STAGE SIX (Young Adulthood)Intimacy vs. Isolation
In this stage the individual develops a warm and intimate relationship with another person. If such sense of intimacy is not acquired during this time of life, a sense of isolation develop instead. Such attitude is reflected in the ability to trust others in a close and intimate manner.
Maladaptation/Malignancy Promiscuity – referring particularly to the tendency to become intimate too freely, too easily, and without any depth to you intimacy. Exclusion – which refers to the tendency to isolate oneself from love, friendship, and community, and to develop a certain hatefulness in compensation.
VIRTUE If you successfully negotiate this stage, you will instead carry with you for the rest of your life the virtue Erikson calls love.
STAGE SEVEN (Middle Adulthood)Generativity vs. Stagnation
The middle years of stage comprise the productive years of adulthood. In this stage, the individual‟s productivity is gauged by his contributions to his family and to society. According to Erikson, the person who fails to develop this sense of generativity becomes preoccupied instead with his personal needs and interests with his personal needs and interests or both with a sense of self-absorption.
Maladaptation/Malignancy Overextension – illustrates the problem. Some people try to be so generative that they no longer allow time for themselves, for rest and relaxation. Rejectivity – too little generativity and too much stagnation and you are no longer participating in or contributing to society.
VIRTUE But if you are successfully at this stage, you will have a capacity for caring that will serve you through the rest of your life.
STAGE EIGHT (Late Adulthood)Ego Integrity vs. Despair
In the last stage, a person comes to terms with the temporal limits of his life. It is the fulfillment and culmination. In Erikson‟s view, it is the achievement of a sense of integrity resulting from identification with mankind. If a person, however, develops an attitude of regret and fear of the end of life, then a sense of despair emerges instead.
Maladaptation/Malignancy Presumption – this is what happens when a person “presumes” ego integrity without actually facing the difficulties of old age. Disdain – by which Erikson means a contempt of life, one‟s own or anyone‟s.
Someone who approachesVIRTUE death without fear has the strength Erikson calls wisdom.