John C. Carter
Dr. Janice J. Caron
August 29, 2010
Eric Erickson is best known for his studies with psychosocial development, or the development of a person within a social context. Eric Erickson’s theories focused primarily on the correlation of the release of sexual tension and psychosexual development. The purpose of this paper is for the author to develop a personal portrait integrating Erickson’s developmental theory, Kohlberg’s moral development, and gender and cultural influences. The author will discuss his development from birth to his current stage of development in his life as it applies to Erickson’s stages of psychosocial development and Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. The author will also discuss gender and cultural influences in regards to how it helps shape and mold the author’s development.
Eric Erickson organized life into eight stages that extend from birth to death (many developmental theories only cover childhood). Since adulthood covers a span of many years, Erikson divided the stages of adulthood into the experiences of young adults, middle aged adults and older adults. While the actual ages may vary considerably from one stage to another, the ages seem to be appropriate for the majority of people. One of the main elements of Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory is the development of ego identity. Ego identity is the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction. According to Erikson, our ego identity is constantly changing due to new experience and information we acquire in our daily interactions with others. In addition to ego identity, Erikson also believed that a sense of competence also motivates behaviors and actions. Each stage in Erikson’s theory is concerned with becoming competent in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of mastery, which he sometimes referred to as ego quality or ego strength. If the stage is managed poorly, the person will emerge with a sense of inadequacy. The focus of this paper will be on how Erickson’s theories on psychosocial development and Kohlberg’s stages of moral development can be used to survey my development in the different stages of life. In discussing Erickson’s developmental theory, there are eight levels of development. The first stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development occurs between birth and one year of age and is the most fundamental stage in life. The first stage of Erickson’s development that I will discuss is Trust vs. Mistrust. I was born on October 23rd 1978, into a two parent household. My parents were fairly new to the married life, had recently relocated from Ohio to Alabama, and attempting to get settled into their new careers and life. Through careful planning my parents were able to make the transition from one environment and lifestyle to the next. Researchers have found that conscientiousness is closely associated with better adjustments to new environments and circumstances (Bardi & Ryff 2007). Since the time that I have been old enough to remember my parents have always done their best to provide me with everything I needed and some of what I wanted. My home environment provided me with a safe environment to explore and learn age appropriate activities. My parents were consistent in their care for me which allowed me to gain trust in them and feel safe and secure in the world.
The second stage of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development takes place during early childhood and is focused on children developing a greater sense of personal control. The next stage of development in my narrative is the stage of Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt. During this period of time my parents work with me on being potty trained. I remember my parents being very happy with me going to the bathroom and not wetting my clothes anymore. I also...