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12.S: Chapter Summary
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Review of Key Points
- Erikson never knew who his father was, and his relationship with his mother was never secure. This challenge to his own identity led him to focus much of his career on the development of identity.
- Erikson’s theory was epigenetic, in that he believed people progress through a predictable series of psychological stages.
- At each stage, there is a unique and critical psychosocial crisis.
- Play is the royal road to understanding the young child’s ego, according to Erikson.
- Before fully developing his theory, Erikson confirmed many of his observations in distinct cultures, including two Native American tribes (Sioux and Yurok).
- Erikson described eight stages of development: trust vs. mistrust; autonomy vs. shame/doubt; initiative vs. guilt; industry vs. inferiority; identity vs. role diffusion/confusion; intimacy vs. isolation; generativity vs. stagnation/self-absorption; and integrity vs. despair.
- Each of the eight stages is associated with a particular strength: hope, will, purpose, competence, fidelity, love, care, wisdom.
- Sometimes young adults will take a moratorium during their search for an identity.
- Joan Erikson proposed a ninth stage of development when death is imminent: despair vs. gerotranscendence.
- Identity develops in relation to one’s environment and culture. Thus, it involves psychosocial relativity.
- Individuals who lose a sense of personal sameness and historical continuity may face an identity crisis.
- Both the ratio of where one falls on each continuum of a psychosocial crisis and the possibility of adopting a negative identity are challenges to healthy identity formation.
- Erikson believed that the significant challenges faced by young Blacks trying to find an identity in America, their disconnection from both their African heritage and the White majority in America, led them toward adopting a negative identity. Evidence can be found in the movement of some young Blacks toward the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers during the 1960s.
- The family is an integral social institution in all cultures. Thus, family psychology can play an important role in helping individuals to recover from identity crises.
- Adulthood is a time of continued psychological development, with its own unique psychosocial crises. The form of these crises, however, varies dramatically from one culture to another.
- In all cultures, the primary activities of adulthood, around which the psychosocial crises revolve, are work and love.
- Very old individuals can still be productive and creative. Old age is also an important time for grandparents to communicate a sense of continuity, a generational link, to their grandchildren.
- Kubler-Ross described five stages that occur during the dying process: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Unfortunately, many people never reach the stage of acceptance.
- When faced with death itself, those who have achieved acceptance can transcend life, and die in peace. Many non-Western cultures have different attitudes regarding death, and are able to facilitate acceptance much more readily.