Review of Evidence for Erik Erikson's Identity Theory of Personality

2057 Words Sep 15th, 2011 9 Pages
Review of Evidence for Erik Erikson's Identity Theory of Personality
Sarah Gruning
Wichita State University

Review of Evidence for Erik Erikson's Identity Theory of Personality

The personality theory that I have chosen to focus on will be Identity Theory. It was developed by Erik Erikson in the nineteen hundreds. Erik Erikson believed that every individual goes through a certain number of stages to reach his or her full development or potential (Erikson, 1994). He theorized that a human being goes through eight different stages ranging from birth to death (Erikson, 1994). Identity Theory focuses on eight psychosocial stages of development, and an epigenetic principle of maturation (Schultz, 2008). The stages of development are
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role confusion stages range from ages twelve to nineteen and is the stage in life where we explore who we are, who we want to be, and where we are headed in life. The Intimacy vs. isolation stage ranges from ages twenty to thirty-four, and is when we decide whether we are loved by others, feel rejected by others, and if we want to spend life with someone else or alone (Erikson, 1994). The Generativity vs. stagnation stage ranges from ages thirty-five to sixty-five and is when we ask ourselves if we produced anything of value in our lives, and if not then we find some way to fulfill that desire (Erikson, 1994). Lastly, the Ego integrity vs. despair stage ranges from sixty-five years old until death, and is when we look back on our lives and decide if we made an impact or made a difference while we were on this earth (Schultz, 2008). This theory attempts to explain why individuals who have had a rough or neglectful childhood have trouble adjusting in adult life, or why adolescents who had trouble finding and identity have issues later in life (Erikson, 1994). This theory helps therapists to ask more key questions about developmental stages and how the patient adjusted to each one (Mummendey, 1999). For example, If the patient was not able to establish a healthy identity then the therapist can identify what was in the way of the formation (Mummendey, 1999). Erikson emphasized importance on developing an early sense of trust if we expect…