Free essay on eriksons final stage of psychosocial development

Erikson was very much interested in psychoanalysis. He attended many meetings of psychoanalytic society and received their training, part of which was provided by Anna Freud (daughter of Sigmund Freud).
Erikson, accepted Freud’s theory about the unconscious, psychodynamics, and psychosexual development. His focus was on ego and its adaptive function in forming the personal identity. Very early in his career, he decided to extend the Freud’s theories by clarifying the roles of the social environment and culture on development of the ego. He is often referred as ego psychologist. The primary contribution of Erikson was the modification of Freud’s psychosexual stages into eight stages of psycho-social development.
In Erikson’s theory, the stages are linked to specific social tasks. Each stage has six components attached to it i. e. specific age range, a psycho-social act or crisis, key
Relationships, psycho-social modalities, dynamics of virtues in resolving crisis, and maladjustments & hostilities associated with over-emphasis on any one aspect of the crisis. The stages emerge in a predefined order. Each stage shapes from the previous one and prepares a basis for the next.
The final stage in the Erikson’s developmental model is the stage of integrity against despair (Ego integrity vs. despair). The age range of this stage is 65 years and above. The probable conflict during this stage is between integrity and despair. The main task of this stage is to look back and reflect on life. Older adults need to feel a sense of fulfillment in life. Individuals, who are unsuccessful during this stage or earlier stages will feel desperate and might experience many regrets. Such individuals will have feelings of resentment and despair. On the other hand, individuals who are proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. These individuals are likely to gain wisdom, even when confronting death. On the other hand, individuals who had difficult times during middle age when look back may feel a sense of despair.
I feel I do not have the feelings characteristic of the final stage, as I have to undergo other stages of life. I am likely to be on the side of integrity, because of experiencing a stimulating and fulfilling childhood, adolescence, early and late adulthood. There are two cases that come to my mind, when I think of their stage of life. One relative of mine has lost his home and other possessions and is dependent on his only daughter’s family. Often he regrets how foolish he was in making certain decisions. Of late he has even started pretending to have amnesia. He is undergoing a conflict of ideal life and his actual life, but becoming maladjusted by pretending dumb.
Another person known to me is an octogenarian. He is very enthusiastic in his activities and, looks forward to have even more stimulating life ahead. He has a large family with grandchildren and great grandchildren. He has a sense of fulfillment because he was able to educate and settle his children in life. Eriksons, descriptions about each stage of life is very interesting and can be applied on people around us.


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Marcia, James E. (1966). ” Development and validation of ego identity status”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 3: 551–558. Retrieved June 2014.