Ego Integrity and the process of finding meaning in life and death in late adulthood
Erik Erikson talks about eight stages of human development. The last stage, Ego Integrity vs. Despair, happens in late adulthood. This may be the most important stage in one’s life affecting their family and friends possible more than others in addition to bring one’s life to close. With better understanding of this anchor stage of ones life, we can aid our transition and even prepare for it early in life. Preparing for ones final stage, as everything in life, can lead to a more successful transition into late adulthood. Strong knowledge of Ego Integrity can help prevent dangerous fall out when life’s dilemmas and tragedies force us into other stages prematurely.
Stages of psychosocial development
In 1950 Erik Erikson, a psychoanalyst, developed an improvement upon Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual stages. Freud’s theories identified the id, ego, and superego and how infantile sexuality represented in psychosexual development. Taking all these theories onboard, Erikson did not support describing personality solely on the basis of sexuality as Freud did. Erikson showed how valuable childhood development can be to personality development. This theory was different from Freud who argued personality development ended at five years of age. In Erikson’s most well known work, Childhood and Society (1950), human life was divided into eight stages of psychosocial development.
“Human personality in principle develops according to steps predetermined in the growing person’s readiness to be driven toward, to be aware of and to interact with a widening social radius” – Erik Erikson
According to the theory, successful completion of each stage results in a healthy personality and successful interactions with others. Failure to successfully complete a stage can result in a reduced ability to complete further stages and