Erikson’s End Stage of Development Essay
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As human beings age, according to Erik Erikson, they go through developmental stages that help to create and transform their personalities. If needs are met and the ego is gratified, then the individual is able to move on to the next challenge. Onward they march in life and in stage until they find the end level: integrity versus despair. This has been categorized as adults 65 years and older by Erikson. Here, people are to reminisce and judge their lives in terms of merit or disappointment. Erikson himself had a lot to comb through in his later years.
Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany just after the turn of the twentieth century. It is known that he was a product of an affair out of wedlock. He did not find this out…show more content…
The final stage, however, is a little different. One does not have a challenge to overcome so much as a lesson to learn. The person must look back on their life and see the mistakes they have made. They can also see the wise decisions reached and good times had. And it is at this point that most people either see meaning or resentment in their lives.
Once an adult reaches retirement, they begin to slow down, if they have not already, and reflect upon a long life lived. They are at the mercy of many decades worth of memories, some good and some bad. The elder will feel a sense of wellbeing if they are satisfied with their life. This satisfaction roots itself in accomplishment. Humans usually want to undertake many things in their lives. Some are able to attain these and others are not. Those that do achieve their goals are filled with a sense of gratification. Arlene Handler says that Erikson calls this “integrity” (The Developmental Stages of Erik Erikson, 2002 (revised 2009)). This also allows for a quiet acceptance of death. People who accept death as inevitable do so with grace and ease. They look at their life and see an adventure with hills and valleys, but valleys that they were able to climb out of with might and determination. Erikson thought this to be remarkable and was amazed by elderly people’s resiliency. He found that the strength at this stage was wisdom and that all the experiences
Integrity V.S Despair
Is there a point in a human's’ life when developments stop, whether it be psychological, social or biological , or is it a process that is ever evolving and changing throughout one’s lifespan. For many years several theorist viewed development in the limited time span of one’s early formative years and not something that occurred over the duration of one’s life. Starting with the theorist Erik Erikson , development and the aging process within itself was examined over one entire lifespan and how these different stage of development plays a role in the individual's overall psychological well being and construct . Central to all stages of development is the resolution of some form of internal conflict and ultimately acceptance of the strive created by this conflict. In their research article , researchers , Rylands and Rickwood(2001) , one of the pivotal strengths to the development of the later life process of ego-integrity in aging adults is “acceptance”, acceptance of the past.
For mature aging adults this conflict (hence development) is triggered due the delegation of more free time (due to such factors as retirement) to deliberate and ponder about their life and their past . It is at this phase of their life that the aging adult either feels gratification for the ultimate outcome of their life has or despair at the goals and pursuits that has not come to fruition. “Mom” who is in what Erickson categorize as the eighth stage of her life cycle , like many other aging individuals she faces adversities related to the aging process such as : physical, social and psychological limitation. “Mom” has been fortunate enough to only experience a very miniscule effects of the aging process on her physical and cognitive abilities, she remain fiercely independent. According to researchers , Ryland and Rickwood(2001),Critical to acceptance in elderly adults is a strong social support,physical dependency and positive affectivity.
“Mom”, just as many other individuals in her age group , appears to be far less decisive now on choices that she has made years ago versus how she felt about these choices at that time. At times “ Mom” recalls aspirations that she had and how close she came to achieving them. This procedure of contemplation of one desires vs. their reality is central to Erickson theory of integrity vs. despair this process is pivotal in helping elderly individuals come to terms with their lives. In her research article , Helping the Elderly Person Resolve Integrity vs. Despair, Nancy Peachy(1992) states , “ when individuals have lived so fully that the prospect of personal death feels less important than the secure knowledge that they have built a future for their children and society. They have achieved some measure of ego integrity. Transcendence beyond despair becomes possible when the elderly are able to build and vicariously enjoy a future that they will not personally see(1992)”.
“ Mom” recalls fondly her role as a mother and vital her role as a mother is to not only her identity but how she determined her legacy, her pride is that she is a good mother and she raised well rounded children, ensuring that her future generation in theory should be raised well. In the aging individual according to Erikson, there is an internal response which occurs to the many different changes that the aging individual faces ie., retirement, the death of a spouse , and the change of one’s social roles. There comes a equilibrium which occurs in the elderly individual , where there own impending deaths is viewed through the understanding that they will live on through their extended family (Kezel and Fariba 2004).
Erikson categorizes this discernment as a “life-affirming involvement” to the current moments. Within the integrity versus despair schema, older adults view their lives in review. This process by which the aging adults reflects upon the series and experiences of their lifetime in a positive view they are on there way to achieving Ego Integrity.In a study conducted by Kezel and Fariba (2004) which examined the key difference between Ego Integrity v.s Ego Despair ,is the role of one support systems. For “ Mom” , she has become in someone who deeply in-sync with her family, they have become her social anchor with regular visit from them has created a sense of contentment with her life .
According to Kezel and Fariba(2004), “the most important event at this stage is coming to accept one’s whole life and to view their lifespan in a positive light. In order to achieve integrity, the individual must come to terms with the choices and events that have made his or hers life unique, and accepting one’s life for what it is”. A crucial variable to Erickson , final stage of development is the judgment that the individual's life has been worthwhile and good. It is very evident in speaking to “ Mom” that she has achieve on some level Ego Integrity, this is evident in such simple decision not to remarry, after her husband she was content and fulfilled with the life that they had shared together in return content with her life.
When the individual gains a sense of fulfillment about the life that they have life and accepts whatever shortcoming they life has had and ultimately that death is an unavoidable part of reality they can gain peace. Those people who can look back on their lives with happiness and decide that they have lived a well rounded and fulfilling life will gain ego integrity and will not be fearful of death. "People develop ego integrity and accept their lives if they succeed, and develop a sense of wisdom a "detached concern with life itself in the face of death itself"(Erikon's Psychosocial Stages of Development, 2009).
Erikson's model of biopsychosocial development is by far the most well defined, in depth , complete theoretical development concept, in its exploration of the individual's entire lifespan this is a strength that is unique Erikson's theoretical perspective. There is a level of complexity to Erikson's stages of psychological development but inherently there remains a level of accessibility. This is due to the fact that Erikson's eight stages of development is something that everyone will ultimately go through even though their day to day experiences may differ. One critique of Erikson’s theory would be that, there is an emphasis