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Psychosocial Development Theory

Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory is a simplistic theory that “describes eight developmental stages through which a healthily developing human should pass from infancy to late adulthood” (Wikipedia, Psychosocial Development). In such, it is a good theory to trace a person’s biography as an analytical tool. Described here is ABA’s biographical sketch going through the eight stages as provided by Erik Erikson.

In tracing ABA’s experiences, there will be no clear bases in the first few stages of Erikson’s theory, we can only argue on the personality of ABA according to the acquired Psychosocial virtues (Boeree, 2006), but to base her personality on this makes it quite remarkable. ABA is an 83 years old grandmother who currently lives alone in her house. She was born in 1925, the second to four children. In Erikson’s theory, a mother’s presence is needed by the infant aged between 0 to 18 months in the Infancy stage, – the environment either is trustworthy or not because of the infant’s interaction with her mother (Boeree, 2006).

In ABA’s case, her mother, being a housewife was ever-present all though her infancy while the next child to her would come two year after – giving enough time for attention to her. It can be concluded that ABA had gained trust from her mother because she had an ever-present hope and drive to live (Chapman, 2008). In the next stage, although ABA cannot explicitly remember anything while she was on her second or third year of life, to which Erikson would label as Early Childhood Stage (Harder, 2002) – the best indicator are acquired positive outcomes (Chapman, 2008) as well as maladaptations (Boeree, 2006).

Based on observation, ABA displays impulsivity (Chapman, 2008) since she sometimes move about and talk with a compulsive behavior. There is no clear basis for this, but judging from the conservative family setting, she must have been “shamed” in doing something in this stage. Most probably, according to Harder (2002) this could be brought about by improper toilet training. In this stage, it is only proper to speculate on ABA’s maladaptation. By the end of the third year up to the sixth, Erikson called this stage as Play Stage (Wikipedia, Psychosocial Development).

ABA may still have maladaptation to this stage because of her ruthlessness towards the Orderly in her house at the present. Furthermore while observing her, she showed some disrespect to the workers mending the roofing of her house. According to her daughter, she is always ruthless and sometimes physically aggressive. Consequently, this could be a result of frustration (Harder, 2002) in her part. There is no clear bases for this, but according to ABA, her mother’s attention to her waned down because her mother became ill after giving birth to their youngest sibling.

Her father, being a Policeman – also was expecting too much of his children even at a young age causing a feeling of guilt to young ABA for “not having initiative” (Wikipedia, Psychosocial Development). As she went to school, ABA said that she often was unrecognized for her accomplishments. From the initial feelings of guilt in the Play Stage, a further maladaptation happened to her in the School-Age Stage, between age 7 to 12 years old (Boeree, 2008). In all her life though, she had been competent having to support herself through college, but some unresolved feelings of inadequacy seeped through too.

She always bragged about her accomplishments as if nobody recognizes it. Sometimes, ABA is very narrow-minded. At one point, she said that her parent did not recognize her abilities – leading to a conclusion that ABA had some unresolved issues at the School-age Stage of her life. Fortunately, ABA must have had positive outcomes on the next stage of her life. When she was 15 years old, the Second World War broke out, a time where she found her identity and role as a woman, a sister and a daughter.

It was a time of great suffering, an unfortunate time for most people indeed, but it may have strengthened her to share herself to others (Boeree, 2006). Her loyalty to her family showed as a sign of a positive outcome of the Adolescent Stage (Chapman, 2008). Even as this family caused some unresolved issues in her personality on the first few stages of her life, she had had strong ties with them even up to the present. For almost five years, the war waged on while she must have gained confidence on herself as a person. As the war ended in 1945, she was already 20 years old and immediately after that was admitted to college.

Her persistence on having a degree must have been her drive still for recognition, quite unresolved from her Play Stage. In the stage of Young Adulthood, ABA did not experience intimacy – because of a strict social norm in her times, her family being conservative, lead her to isolate herself (Chapman, 2008). To ABA, there was nothing wrong with her, although according to he daughter, because of her ruthlessness, impulsivity and narrow-mindedness, all her children ran away from home sometimes in their lives. It was a clear statement that ABA again had some problems during her young adulthood stage.

To make things worst, her strong identity developed during the adolescent stage created a conflict to young adulthood stage. The loyalty was substituted for love, where according to her daughter she demanded it because she feared rejection (Wikipedia, Psychosocial Development). She would track down her children whenever they would leave and it never was resolve until the present. Thus, her marriage to her husband was judged by her children as not for love but for seeking loyalty, recognition and escape from guilt – all to cover up the unresolved issues in her life.

It was so unfortunate again that this did not work much. Instead of acquiring a caring attitude towards her children, she had acquired rejectivity (Boeree, 2006). In this stage, according to her daughter, she began to hang out frequently with friends and relatives to “socialize”. This is what Boeree (2006) would conclude that, “In their panic at getting older and not having experienced or accomplished what they imagined they would when they were younger, they try to recapture their youth”, and thus ABA. Fortunately, her children were able to cope all these “sufferings” from her.

Finally, it is apparent to ABA’s attitude that she is in despair in her present stage of Late Adulthood (Harder, 2002). ABA’s life is quite unfortunate because of the experiences that she had gone through. With such experiences, she was unable to cope for the next stages of her life leading to more maladaptation in the last stage. At the present, ABA did not gain wisdom (Chapman, 2008), as some would acquire if only she gained positive outcomes. In her actions, it is obvious that she did not find satisfaction in life always bragging for the past things she had done and had not moved on.

Recently at late, ABA started to show signs of dementia where most of her unresolved issues keep on popping up whenever there are small signs of trouble. Her family only wished that she will pass away happy even as they know that ABA will never find happiness because of her history.

Works Cited Boeree, C. G. “Personality Theories: Erik Erikson”. C. George Boeree Homepage 2006. 15 Apr 2008 <http://webspace. ship. edu/cgboer/erikson. html> Chapman, A. “Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory: Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Crisis Life Cycle Model – The Eight Stages of Human Development”.

BusinessBalls. com 2008. 15 Apr 2008 <http://www. businessballs. com/erik_erikson_psychosocial_theory. htm> Harder, A. F. “The Developmental Stages of Erik Erikson”. LearningPlaceOnline. com 2002. 15 Apr 2008 <http://www. learningplaceonline. com/stages/organize/Erikson. htm> “Psychosocial development. ” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 13 Apr 2008, 08:38 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 16 Apr 2008 <http://en. wikipedia. org/w/index. php? title=Psychosocial_development&oldid=205292542>.

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