Erik Erikson's psychosocial developmental theory

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According to Erik Erikson's psychosocial developmental theory

A person passes through a number of stages as they develop from childhood to maturity. Erikson thought that social interaction and relationships were crucial to human growth and development. Erikson identified eight stages that people progress through. The phases build on one another and prepare for the creation of the following stage. Each stage, if built wisely, will result in a person who is satisfied, and if handled incorrectly, will result in a person who is dejected. Erikson's eight developmental phases are respectively the seventh and eighth stages, which contrast creativity with stagnation and integrity with despair. These two phases form part of the development of an individual. The two stages compare and contrast in the following ways

Generativity vs. Stagnation stage

Generativity vs. Stagnation occurs at the age of 40 to 65 years. During this stage, middle age adults always strive to create things that will be a better reflection of them in the future. They want to make positive changes in life. The people at this stage want to leave a mark and make the world a better place. Working on what they have aspired for is vital during this time. (Sneed, Whitbourne, & Culang, 2006).

Ego integrity vs. despair stage

Ego integrity vs. despair, on the other hand, occurs at late adulthood from the age of 65 onwards. The stage occurs when events of life such as retirement, loss of a spouse and terminal disease dawn. An individual always looks back rather than plan for the future. People reflect on life and try to figure out what they achieved in the past.

Generativity vs. Stagnation involves:

Generativity vs. Stagnation will involve individuals making commitments to family and society as a whole. They form a relationship and have children and raise them in the way they desire. A person engages in activities that will make him and the society better. They train their children and prepare them for the future ahead. However, some stagnate and dissociate themselves from the community and focus less to building a better future for the family.

Ego integrity and despair involves:

Ego integrity and despair, on the other hand, involves a stage in life where a person focuses on themselves and reflects on the achievements he/she made in life. Questions about whether he made the society a better place form in their minds. An individual focuses much on if he or she brought up the children in the right manner. Contributions to the community are minimal at this stage. A person would have ego integrity if they made positive changes in life and despair if they did not achieve the best.

Negative Reflections of Life

Both stages have a negative reflection of life. The negative situations occur when an individual takes a less active part in improving their lives in the development stages. Stagnation occurs when a person does not make positive changes in life at the age of 40. People stagnate if they do not make commitments in income generation. Negative steps include non-association with the community, no plans for family and engagements that will make a person better in the future. Despair, on the other hand, involves a person reflecting on life and feeling a sense of dissatisfaction with the things he or she did not achieve in life. Inability to raise a good family and a good source of income characterize this stage.

Late Adulthood

Late adulthood begins at the age of 65. Erikson suggests that at this age a person should have a sense of satisfaction in the things he or she has acquired rather than bitterness and regret. The satisfaction will help resolve the conflict that occurs either because of feeling a sense of joy or disillusionment. Physical changes occur during late adulthood. Physical strength and degree of endurance reduce.

Physical Changes

The respiratory and circulation of blood is not efficient compared to middle age adults. At this stage, older people experience constipation due to the weakening of the digestive and gastrointestinal tract. The muscles become weak, and older people start experiencing difficulty in movements. Constant exercises are advised to help muscles regain their strength. Bone disorders, e.g., osteoporosis are rampant for most groups of people at this age depending on the lifestyles practiced by individuals at their young ages. The sensitivity of the five senses of hearing, taste, vision, and touch reduce. Most of these insights gradually decrease with age. Neural processes reduce and brain functioning decline, it is impossible for older people to comprehend conversation. Reduction in skin moisture is also observed. The skin becomes dry and less flexible. (Brown & Lowis, 2003).

Cognitive Changes

Cognitive changes are observed in late adulthood. Intellectual ability reduces in this stage of life. The ability to use and relate to patterns to solve problems decrease in later years. However, with the use of remedial training, they can use the accumulated information to understand ideas. Poor performance in cognitive factors is experienced; this is associated with a decrease in working memory. Dementia, a disease associated with memory occurs in about 15 percent of people above 65 years.

Alzheimer's Disease

The cognitive defect eventually leads to Alzheimer's disease which starts with confusion and memory loss. Alzheimer's reduces the ability of a person to take care of oneself and ultimately leads to death. In later years older people feel that they are a burden to society and people close to them. The feeling makes them go through a stressful period. Conditions associated with stress follow, e.g., depression and stroke affects a percentage of older people and eventually lead to death. Research has also shown that people at their late adulthood have a memory that can solve challenges that require experience. Older people can solve relationship problems in the society best compared to middle-aged adults.

Aging and End of Life

Aging and the end of life is a difficult part of an older person and family. Persons in this stage go through a lot in terms of physical changes. Their bodies become weaker, leading to some feel helpless. The stage requires family members and society to take great care of people close to death. Societies have invented centers to take care of old people at their dying stages.

Processes of Death

The processes of death involve steps that a person goes through before death. Denial is the first reaction a person does when he or she faces death. It is crucial for the person to understand the situation they are in faster and accept so as for reducing frustration and anger that happens at the second stage. (Kübler-Ross, 2009). Bargaining for more time is the third stage of death processes. People should focus more on positive accomplishments in life, as this will help them find peace in their last hours of dying. Acceptance of death while one still has strength enables someone to make amends before death. Important decisions such as the writing of wills of inheritance of wealth will help heirs to settle first after the death of a loved one. Acceptance on the onset will also give the opportunity for the dying to interact with loved ones in their last moments. The interactions will help the loved ones reduce grief after death.


Brown, C., & Lowis, M. J. (2003). Psychosocial development in the elderly: An investigation

into Erikson's ninth stage. Journal of Aging Studies, 17(4), 415-426.

Kübler-Ross, E. (2009). On death and dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses,

clergy and their own families. Taylor & Francis.

Sneed, J. R., Whitbourne, S. K., & Culang, M. E. (2006). Trust, identity, and ego integrity:

Modeling Erikson’s core stages over 34 years. Journal of Adult Development, 13(3-4),


March 23, 2023

Psychology Science

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