Gender And Aging Minds, By Erik Erikson Essay

Gender And Aging Minds, By Erik Erikson Essay

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Gender and age intersect in an individual’s life from their first to their last day. With this notion, there are four key ways that gender and age intersect. First, gender and personality intersect and has largely to do with Erikson’s theory of development and its eight stages. Secondly, gender and aging minds and body are usually split because they are both large concepts. Gender and aging minds relates to the cognitive aspect of a person’s development whereas gender and body looks at physical changes throughout the lifespan. Lastly, gendered social roles explore the different roles one holds from a child, to a married adult to a retired elderly person (Newton, 2016). These intersections are a great way to examine the changes a person goes through and how it varies in each aspect of their life.
The one theorist covered in class and in the paper regarding gender and age intersections was Erik Erikson. He is famous for his eight stages of development largely because he was the first to develop a theory regarding personality development over a life time, instead of looking at solely concentrating on childhood such as Freud (Newton, 2016). Erikson’s eight stages represent a struggle at each point in time from infancy to old age. For example, trust versus mistrust is the very first stage and is important because it happens from birth to age one. It looks at the relationship the infant creates with their primary caregiver to determine if their needs are fulfilled. He believes that the stages are fluid, as they can overlap but there must be resolutions to each stage before moving on to the next (Steward and Newton, 2009, p. 561).
Furthermore, one of the things that stick out in Erikson’s theory is his adult stages. His research show...


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... in his life, he worked at universities such as Harvard and Yale while working on his theory. Most of his adult research participants were male, upper class students (thus the gendered bias also often critiqued). In addition, the children he observed were also of similar status (Berger, 2005). His research takes a one sided, Western approach, ignoring cultural cross-sections.
Nonetheless, I strongly believe that if one’s goal is to learn about the personality of people over a span of their life, looking at only Erikson’s theory and stopping there would limit their knowledge. It’s a great starting point and offers lots of information and insight as to what an average person’s life looks like. The theory is relatable and it is understandable as to why there is some missing information because of the time he lived in and how his own experiences reflect in the theories.

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