Essay on Erik Erikson's Personality Theory

Essay on Erik Erikson's Personality Theory

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I. Erik Erikson's Personality Theory of Life-Span Identity and Identity Crises
I chose Erik Erikson's Personality Theory of Life-Span Identity and Identity Crises to explain my personality development because I believe that a person never stops changing in all aspects, until death, and according to Erikson, it takes a life-span to develop an identity as well as personality. People pass eight stages during the course of their lives, in which segments or certain aspects of one's personality are formed, revised or discarded.
The first stage of Erikson's Personality Theory of Life-Span Identity and Identity Crises is named Trust vs Mistrust. In this stage, infants are in constant need of “nursing, peaceful warmth, and comfortable excretion”, which, when achieved, leads to the development of trust and security (Friedman & Schustack, 2012, p. 136). On the contrary, mistrust is developed when a child is not receiving the love, nurture and emotional security from the mother or closest caretaker. This may be carried on into later stages of life and result in an overall feeling of insecurity as well as suspicion towards other people and the world (Friedman & Schustack).
Following the first stage is the second stage of Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt, which occurs during one's early childhood. A child now learns to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong, and how to control temper and impulses (Friedman & Schustack). Parents who encourage good morals and decision making are likely to raise a child who will complete this second stage with a sense of autonomy and the ability to make decisions especially when it comes to choosing between right and wrong. A child may develop a sense of shame and doubt if it is over-criticized or pun...

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... it, but guide it with one of the features (the most favorable one) preponderating over the less desirable one (Friedman & Schustack).
Another limitation of this theory is that it may not be applicable to every culture. While most western cultures follow certain guidelines and patterns when it comes to raising a child, entering school, getting married, and retirement, other cultures follow different patterns. In societies where, for example, girls get married as soon as they reach puberty, children only go to school until eighth grade and are then considered adults, or old people work very hard until their lives come to an end, Erikson's theory may not accurately describe the process of personality and identity development.

Friedman, H. S. & Schustack, M. W. (2012). Personality: Classic theories and modern research, 5th Ed. Allyn & Bacon: Heights, MA

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