Impact of Death of a Parent during Childhood on Development

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The development of personality and identity formation has been greatly influenced by Erikson’s psychosocial theory. Erikson suggested that all humans experience eight major stages of psychosocial development throughout their lifetime (Sigelman & Rider, 2012). Each of these stages has general age ranges and learning tasks that must be completed in order to move to the next developmental stage with successful outcomes. During each stage a conflict occurs; consequently, the successful or unsuccessful resolution of this conflict will result in differences in personality development and will have lasting effects on the remaining stages of development. When a conflict occurs during a particular stage of development, this is most often due to a change in personal needs and social demands and will result in a crisis (Ochse & Plug, 1986). A crisis is a critical point in each stage of development and will have positive and negative impacts on future development.
According to Erikson, a person will progress to the next stage of development regardless of the successful resolution of the prior conflict due to physical and biological development and the natural age and social progressions of humans (Sigelman & Rider, 2012). As a result, if a conflict has been unsuccessfully resolved, this will greatly influence how remaining conflicts are approached and identity formation develops. The fifth stage of psychosocial development brings the conflict of identity versus role confusion. This stage typically occurs during the years of 12 to 20 and is a time when adolescents begin to express who they are in their lives, careers, and personal relationships (Sigelman & Rider, 2012).
Often considered the most critical stage of development, ident...

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