Graziano and Raulin (8th ed)Graziano & Raulin
Research Methods (8th edition)

Erik Erikson (1902-1994) had no formal education after high school. However, he trained in psychoanalysis, acquired a professorship at Harvard, and became one of the most influential psychoanalysts of his time. 

Erikson’s model of life-span development differed from Freud’s heavy emphasis on the importance of the early childhood developmental years. According to Erikson’s model, development does not end with adulthood, but rather people continue to develop through eight psychosocial stages. The first four stages--trust vs. mistrust; autonomy vs. shame and doubt; initiative vs. guilt; industry vs. inferiority--are essentially Freud’s hypothesized stages of child development--oral, anal, phallic, and latency. Erikson hypothesized four additional stages: identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation, and integrity vs. despair. He also emphasized social and cultural factors as important elements in human personality development, thus differing markedly from Freud’s near-exclusive emphasis on biological factors.

Each stage, according to Erikson, poses a crisis that needs to be resolved. Again, differing from Freud’s emphasis on unconscious processes, Erikson believed that conscious decisions can operate in powerful ways, and can either resolve or exacerbate crises within stages. If a stage crisis is not resolved, an identity crisis occurs. The person is left, then, with incomplete development and will be unprepared to succeed in the next developmental stage. However, even at later stages, the earlier unresolved crises can be corrected.

Two of Erikson’s major works are Identity, Youth, and Crisis (1968) and Vital Involvement in Old Age (1986). Appropriately, Erikson wrote the latter volume when he was 84 years old.

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