Erikson 's Theory, Ego Integrity Versus Despair

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According to the psychoanalytic perspective, people move through a series of stages in which they confront conflicts between biological drives and social expectations. How these conflicts are resolved determines the person’s ability to learn, to get along with others, and cope with anxiety. Erik Erikson has been a very influential contributor to the psychoanalytic perspective (Berk, 2010). Erikson proposed that an individual moves through a series of stages which resolve in either positive or negative outcomes and determine healthy or maladaptive behavior. (Berk, 2010). The final psychological conflict in Erikson’s theory, ego integrity versus despair, involves coming to terms with one’s life. Adults who arrive at a sense of integrity …show more content…

My second participant who has finished rearing her children does not have very close relationships with them, which encouraged me to determine that she might be headed toward the negative outcome of despair. The woman with grown children felt that a few of her children were not doing well for themselves, and she currently has full custody of one of her grandchildren. She felt defeated by her children’s negative outcomes, and hope was almost nonexistent. Despair occurs when an aging adult feels they have made many wrong decisions and there is no time left to choose another route (Berk, 2010). I think that since the childless woman did not experience the challenges of rearing unruly children she enjoyed healthy relationships with nieces and nephews, she displayed a more favorable psychological well-being. The childless woman seemed content while speaking about friendships, as she made great attempt to keep in touch with her lady friends, went on lunch dates, and even enjoyed having a pen pal, which allowed me to believe that she had reached integrity. A sign of integrity is reaping great benefits from friendship bonds and leisurely activities (Berk, 2010). My second participant did not acknowledge having special friendships and said that she did not have time for leisurely activities, she said that it was very difficult to form positive friendships because she has a hard time trusting people, more signs of despair. The childless woman

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