This report examined empirical articles which investigated Erikson’s eight and ninth stages of psychosocial development and endeavored to find answers to varying postulations of his theories; does development and growth continue in the later stages of human development, and if so, what type of growth is it; additionally is this growth stunted or enhanced by the way we resolve our conflicts between these stages: are ego-integrity and cohesion reached in Late Adulthood? A total of ten empirical articles were reviewed. These articles discussed Erikson’s resolutions of the eight and ninth stages of development as well as theories postulated by others like Aaron Antonovsky, who proposed the theory of coherence, Lars Tornstam, who proposed gerotranscendence, a theory about maturing into old age and Abraham Maslow’s theory of transcendence. The subjects studied were diverse, as they included both men and women from different ethnicities and generational backgrounds. Interviews were conducted and numerous questionnaires were generated and distributed either in person or via the mail service. The empirical articles revealed that growth does continue to occur in the Late Adulthood, however such growth was dependent on how individuals chose to resolve conflicts between earlier developmental stages; for example people whose resolutions resulted in negative affect were found to have been more likely to have experienced depression in their later years, making the golden years a time of regret. There is much opportunity for the counselor to help the elderly in the healing process through the narrative recreation of their life story, and in this narrative reconstruction restore ego-integrity and achieve coherence.
Reflections of Late Adulthood and Ego-Integrity
Advances in medical practices and the treatment of disease have resulted in a extension of the period of Late...