Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson are famous for coming up with two different theories that explain the development stages that humans undergo. Erikson held a psychosocial view regarding development while Freud was a proponent of the psychosexual theory on the same. The psychosocial theory is more recognized and widely applied as compared to the later. The theory lays its basis on the impact of social experiences that a person encounters throughout their lifestyles. On the other hand, the psychosexual theory emphasizes on the influence of biological changes and the relevance of basic needs on advancement. According to the two theories, the development stages for humans were divided into eight categories which vary regarding age groups (Cherry, 2015). In this assignment, two people in different stages were interviewed and their responses recorded. Also, I consider my case and record the observations that I made on my particular development stage.
Erikson’s psychosocial theory provides a step by step analysis of the social impacts that accrue an individual as they go through different stages. From the time a person is born, they are influenced by external social factors in their surrounding which eventually shapes their personality. The first three stages of the theory define the infancy and early childhood periods of humans. They are very crucial in determining the developmental traits that an individual acquires as they grow into the next stages. The fourth and five stages cover the school age and adolescence stages of the individual while the other three define the adulthood period. According to this theory, each stage in the whole process directly affects the success or failure in the next stage (Erikson $ Murphy, 2013).
Two volunteers, Mr Johnson (a fifty-seven-year-old man) and Maria (a sixteen-year-old girl) were interviewed and observed, and their characteristics were compared to the psychosocial traits outlined by Erikson. From the interviews conducted by Mr Johnson and Maria, there was a clear correlation of their behaviour to what is stipulated in theory. Mr Johnson explains that he is a father to four children all who were in different levels in school with the eldest having graduated recently. Also, he explains that he lives with his wife and children except for the one who graduated and moved to his house after getting employed in a local company. Mr Johnson is a don at the County University, and he says that he enjoys his job a lot and that it is very fulfilling to him. He is proud of what he has achieved so far, and this is evident from the energy and enthusiasm that he speaks in during the interview. He was followed to school and observed for an entire week on his daily routine which was fixed. He is very active in forums that involve young students in the campus and is a mentor to several of them. In light of this, Mr Johnson can be described under the generativity category (Slater, 2003). This is because the man is very keen on shaping the behaviour of his children as well as his students. He partakes in conferences that seek to empower young people.
The second person to be interviewed and observed was Maria who is a sixteen-year-old girl, currently in high school. She lives with her mother and has one younger brother. Maria does not have a good relationship with her mother as she is dating a twenty-year-old man from a nearby college. She is in constant quarrels with her mother regarding this issue, and she sometimes goes for a whole week without speaking to her after they have an argument. At school, Maria’s performance is declining which worries the mum as she fears that the daughter may not qualify to graduate from college. Maria is also not very friendly to other students in her school, and even the teachers are concerned about her behaviours. From this, it is clear that Maria is in her adolescence (genital) stage and she can be described as experiencing role confusion (Palombo et al., 2009). She is unable to settle well at school which affects her grades and is not sure what she wants to do after finishing high school. This trait is well described in the psychosocial theory and is in sync with it thereof.
The behaviour exuded by the first interviewer, Mr Johnson can be viewed as a successful case of all the stages of life development. This fact has made the man much appreciative of life, and he, therefore, wants to give back to the society by offering guidance about how he underwent life’s stages himself. On the other hand, for Maria, there is a clear disconnect in her current adolescent stage as compared to what is expected, which implies that other previous stages in her life were not developed successfully. This makes her become disobedient to her mother and unsettled at school.
Even though the Freud’s and Erikson’s theories are based on different philosophies, they share several similarities. To begin with, both the models use the same age group divisions to describe the various developmental stages. Also, the two theorists recognised that the development process occurs in an unconscious mode. Personally, I feel that Erikson’s psychosocial model comes out clear to describe my personality development. I say this because I have experienced the stages as he describes them and being newly married at twenty-seven years, I am more focused on having to establish intimacy with my new wife. I, therefore, subscribe to the intimacy category in my age period according to the theory.
|Current Development Stage||Middle adulthood||Adolescence||Young Adulthood|
|Status within Stage||Generativity||Role confusion||Intimacy|
|Events Causing the Status||Good upbringing
Success in career
|Poor childhood experiences
Lack of trust
Success in previous stages
Colarusso, C. A., & Nemiroff, R. A. (2013). Adult development: A new dimension in psychodynamic theory and practice. Springer Science & Business Media.
Cherry, K. (2015). Comparing Freud’s and Erikson’s Theories of Development.
Erickson, P. A., & Murphy, L. D. (Eds.). (2013). Readings for a history of anthropological theory. University of Toronto Press.
Palombo, J., Bendicsen, H. K., & Koch, B. J. (2009). Guide to psychoanalytic developmental theories.
Slater, C. L. (2003). Generativity versus stagnation: An elaboration of Erikson’s adult stage of human development. Journal of Adult Development, 10(1), 53-65.