Development Throughout the Lifespan, Free Essay Example

Published: 2022-03-25
Development Throughout the Lifespan, Free Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Personal development Lifespan development
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1008 words
9 min read

The psychosocial theory places one between society and its interests. From a tender age when one is still learning their environment and basic life skills to adulthood when one is all grown; they are constantly faced with situations which they have to confront. They have to succeed in such confrontations. For instance, between the ages of 12 and 18, an adolescent has to truly discover and accept themselves. The struggle here is getting societal acceptance as well as finding themselves in terms of strengths and weaknesses, and embracing each. Failure to do that leads to an identity crisis where one is constantly trying to fit in every group in the society. Also, failure in one stage of development spells doom on the next as one walks with unresolved issues like lack of self-esteem.

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There is a general trend in patterns throughout the stages of psychosocial development. The development follows some predetermined arrangement. One has to successfully cover each stage for them to succeed in the next. For instance, once guilt settles on say a five-year child, it becomes so hard for them to play with the others or do activities on their own. Guilt restricts them from almost doing anything because to them, everything can go wrong. This comes as a result of the parents failing to reinforce good behavior but always rebuke them. The result is that the child is inhibited from taking the initiative to do things and so becomes uncreative. The same applies to adolescents who are crossing over to adulthood (2010). If they fail to identify themselves, then, they struggle with settling for jobs, and also find it difficult to settle in relationships. In a nutshell, one stage predetermines the subsequent.

The eight stages in Erickson's approach to development shape one's personality. Personality sums up their perceptions, attitudes and moral values. The way they respond to different situations, the way they handle people and things that they hold in high esteem are all determined by their success or failure in those stages. The virtue of love originates from someone who successfully confronts isolation. Hatred generates from failure to develop intimacy skills. A creative individual who makes good paintings or inventions reflects a person who had a good upbringing between the ages of three and five; their parents reinforced good behavior and let them discover their environment freely. A hard working person reflects a smooth schooling age where their diligence was motivated. A lazy individual reflects the opposite. When a person dies and does so as a man of integrity, it means they confronted all the crises that appeared during their development. All those eight stages shape the way people live their lives (character) and the way other people perceive them (reputation/personality). Success in each stage produces a specific value out of them and failure produces a specific vice out of them.

Erickson's stages of development are based on Freud's (Engler, 2014). Both of them put emphasis on the fact that development is progressive. That is to say that for one to fully develop, they must excel in each stage. They both also revolve around the concept that personalities of people are predetermined by the stages of development. On the other hand, these two theories differ in several ways. While Erickson's is concerned with the ego with respect to the society, Freud's focuses on the Id. Freud's psychosexual theory implies that development ends at adolescence but Erickson's psychosocial approach gives an allowance for development even through adulthood. Erickson's stages are binary while Freud's are singular. While Freud focuses on sexual development, Erickson concentrates on the development of the person as a whole being.

Between Freud's and Erickson's theories, the former personally seems inadequate. The latter, however, covers life in entirety. Erickson believes in immense possibilities for change in one's life at any stage. As an undergraduate student, one may realize that there are certain areas in life where they are struggling. With the competitive world, everyone is working hard to polish themselves academically, professionally, and behaviorally. Such struggles happen anywhere in life and one has to be optimistic that they can still change and be virtuous people. The psychosocial theory not only identifies the stages of development precisely but also deliberates on possible outcomes meticulously.

For instance, a lady in a relationship may have trust issues and thus become insecure. She would then become over jealous. The result is broken relationships. Erickson's theory is quite relatable here because it points clearly where the root cause lies; adolescence. Also, it provides a solution by implication (Bloom, 1985). In such cases as this, the problem is usually associating present occurrences with painful past events. If the lady's father had cheated on her mother or her first boyfriend cheated on her, she would easily conclude that their current partners are cheating on them, even because of a simple misunderstanding. Erickson, in this case, provides a hint that this is just a crisis they must confront and conquer. That way they save the relationship courtesy of psychosocial theory of development.


Name of person observed Age Gender Current developmental stage Status within the stage Events that have led to this status

Grace Shaw 5 F Initiative versus guilt Guilt Grace is unable to make friends in kindergarten. She rarely plays with her peers and often hides her face when the teacher tends to look at her work.

Michael Joseph 17 M Identity versus role confusion Role confusion Michael is juggling among the school football team, local hip-hop group, and Mathematics club. He doesn't perform well in any and now hates everything and everyone.

Student 20 F Intimacy versus isolation Intimacy The student is in a relationship with a boy she loves. She is secure and focused on her studies. Relates well with others too. She appreciates everyone at her part-time workplace.


Adolescents cyber connections: identity definition and intimacy disclosure on a social networking site. (2010). Digital Repository @ Iowa State University.

Bloom, M. (1985). Lifespan development: bases for preventive and interventive helping. New York: Macmillan.

Engler, B. (2014). Personality theories: an introduction. Australia; Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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