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Erikson’s Psycho-Social Development Theory in Use


Erik Erikson believed in strong ties between an individual and society. The researcher noted that people’s development is closely connected with societal roles played. In other words, people develop through finding themselves in human society, community, etc. Erikson developed the Theory of Psycho-Social Development that is based on eight stages (the theory is more comprehensive compared to the five stages of Freudian theory). Passing each stage, an individual gains certain experiences and develops certain virtues (Personality Theories n.p.). If the experience gained is inappropriate, maladaptation for the following stage develops.

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The interviewee, Mary, is 32. She is my elder sister’s friend. We met in the park at 11 a.m. We finished the interview at about 12.15 p.m. We walked and sat for a while. I decided to create a natural atmosphere so that my interviewee did not feel nervous. I explained the major goals of the interview. Mary is now pregnant with her second child and I asked several questions concerning her decision to have the second child. She said, “My daughter is at school now and she is already having a life of her own. I want to experience the joy of motherhood one more time.” She also added, “I also want to help people address the problem of aging.” I also asked Mary about her relationship with her husband. Mary said:

We are real partners… No, I think we are even more than that as we are almost two parts of the whole. Sometimes I think I do not need anyone… only my kids and Nick.

I also asked Mary about her household. It seems she is completely absorbed in making her household perfect. Mary said, “I always try to make delicious dinners and make my house a fairyland for my girl… and I make my family have lots of family occasions, like parties, Family Sundays, trips to different places.”

Mary is really attached to her husband, which can be regarded as a sign of the sixth stage. However, it is apparent that she is now at the seventh stage as she is concerned with her family and the next generations. She wants to have two children and she strives to help them live happy lives. She is less selfish than she was several years ago, as she is ready to sacrifice her hobbies and work to spend more time with her children.

As for me, I am now at the sixth stage of development. I am quite selfish as I am focused on my own development. I want to achieve academic success. I strive to find a well-paid job that can satisfy my needs and expectations. I am also attached to my partner very much and I am not thinking of children and other generations right now as I believe this is my time to live and enjoy my life.


I think Erikson’s theory is very useful and quite accurate. The stages outlined reveal quite significant periods in people’s life. Freudian theory can also be helpful, though Erikson was more accurate in his depiction of developmental stages. The development of children and adolescents is divided into more stages as their development is more diversified compared to the development of adults. Some may say that due to increased life expectancy, the theory, or rather the eighth stage should be reconsidered. However, I do not think there is a need in this as eventually people over sixty either become wise and accept the universal truth that people die and decide to enjoy their life to the fullest or they refuse to accept the truth and start living in their past recollecting times when they were young.

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Works Cited

Personality Theories. Erik Erikson, 2006. Web.

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