Erikson's Four Psychosocial Stages after Puberty

Published: 2021-07-08 15:45:05
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Category: Psychologists

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In the world of psychology, there has been several psychologists who have added to the understanding of human development by introducing new theories. These theories have added influence by helping humans make sense of themselves in a new perspective. One of these psychologists is Erik Erikson. He thought that humans go through a total of eight psychosocial stages in their life from birth to adulthood. If humans do not successfully complete all of these eight stages, he thought the consequences would be that humans would struggle later in life and not be able to completely move onto the following stage in the process. If they did move through the stages in childhood though, Erikson thought they would be able to move onto the four psychosocial stages after puberty. These are identity versus role confusion, intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus stagnation and integrity versus despair.
The first stage after puberty, identity versus role confusion is the stage in which a person tries to find out their own unique identity. This is who a person is in terms of their own beliefs, interests and so on that are not alike to their parents. Typically, this stage of psychosocial development takes place during adolescence. It is no wonder as during this time, a person is heavily influenced by their peers. Ideally, by the end of this stage, they will reach identity achievement. It takes a while though to reach identity achievement as the person finds there are several forms of identities that they want to take on the older they get. Some people will also find that they are not quite mentally prepared to start searching for their own identity and instead, they might be stuck in role confusion or foreclosure. Role confusion is when people lack motivation to search for their identity. So, they go through life remaining clueless about it. On the other hand, foreclosure is when a person takes on their parent’s or the general society’s identity as their own instead of searching for their unique identity. For the majority of people though, they will move past this and explore their identity in a healthy way through moratorium. Moratorium is the process of exploring various interests for a short time. This is helpful to a person as it puts them on the path towards identity achievement by having a short term commitment to something.One of the identities that a person might focus on in adulthood is their religious identity. If a person was brought up in a religious upbringing, they will usually continue practicing that religion during adolescence. This is especially the case if they are close with their family. Teenagers are not immune though to critical thinking and the influence of their peers. This is also true for adults. As a result, a person might begin to question their religious beliefs and start to stray away from that religion when on the path to finding their religious identity. One way a person could achieve their true religious identity during adulthood would be to attend the church services of another religion that they find themselves connecting with. Another one of the identities that a person might focus on in adulthood is their political identity. Political identity is similar to religious identity in the way that people follow the path of their parents during adolescence. They either say that they belong to the political party their parents do or they remain independent. Culture and new experiences though can change things during adulthood, making adults suddenly passionate about topics that their parents have no concern for. The natural outcome of this is the person questioning their political identity and wanting to get out there and explore. One way a person could achieve their political identity during adulthood would be to become part of an activism group in college that supports and raises awareness about a topic that they feel strongly about.
The second stage that comes after identity versus role confusion is intimacy versus isolation. This time, following identity achievement, is when a person seeks to have close relationships with those who can provide them a devoted relationship full of loyalty and self disclosure. Many humans might underestimate the importance of relationships like this, but they are actually crucial to our health. Without finding intimate relationships, a person is vulnerable to a life full of poor mental and even physical health. Being around others that we have close relationships with helps to increase our mood and our self concept of ourselves. They can also influence us to make good choices as we go through our adult lives.
When a person hears the word intimacy, they might be likely to think that the only way to meet this stage is to engage in a close relationship with someone romantically. This is not the case though. A person can satisfy this stage through having a close relationship with their friends and family. In fact, adulthood can be a great time for a person to become closer with their family as it is a time in development that brings along exciting and new opportunities which may bring family together. One way a person might achieve intimacy through their family during adulthood would be becoming an aunt or uncle of their sibling’s child that they were not close with before. This could help a person to become closer with their sibling and banish unresolved issues that were in the way of them getting along. Family and friends can only satisfy this stage a certain amount though. Inevitably, most people are going to want to seek out romance. One way that a person might achieve intimacy through romance during adulthood is cohabitation. This occurs when a person shares their living quarters with a person that they are in a serious relationship with, but not married to. Cohabitation has become a rapidly popular thing for adult couples. In fact, a large amount of adult couples have chosen it over getting married as a lot of them do not want to jump straight into marriage in order to live with each other. They might not feel ready to be legally bound to each other just yet. Cohabitation has its’ downsides like anything else, but one thing for sure is that sharing one’s living quarters with their romantic partner satisfies this stage in a whole new way.
The third stage that comes after intimacy versus isolation is generativity versus stagnation. Generativity versus stagnation occurs because an adult seeks to feel like they are contributing something to this world. They want to be able to know that they are touching other people in some way. If a person feels that they have not met this need, they might think that they have failed to find their purpose in the world. They also might think that they are not progressing any further in their life. These kind of thoughts can contribute to some dark moments of confusion and depression. Therefore, it is important that a person satisfies this stage in their life.
There are three common ways that adults usually find their way to be generative through. These are being a parent, working or being a caregiver for someone that we love. The most obvious way that many people satisfy generativity through parenthood is by having biological children. This is not in the cards for everyone though as some couples cannot have their own children. Luckily though, there are other ways that a person could satisfy generativity through parenthood if they wanted to have children. One of the ways to achieve that could be through adoption. There are many unique challenges that a parent finds the need to take on when they adopt a child. A child might have attachment problems or question who their real parents are when they get to be older. A good parent can positively contribute to their adopted child’s life by being understanding, supportive and allowing for open communication through all of these challenges. Even though work may not be the first thing that comes to mind for many when they think of satisfying generativity, it is true that it can fulfill this stage. One way that work can help to achieve generativity is through the intrinsic rewards of a person’s job. The intrinsic rewards of a person’s job has to do with any personal fulfillment that they receive from doing their job. An example of an intrinsic reward would be being able to save people’s lives through carrying out surgeries as a surgeon.
The fourth and final stage that comes after generativity versus stagnation is integrity versus despair. Integrity versus despair is a stage that an adult faces in late adulthood. This is a time in an adult’s life where death might be a possibility in the near, but far future. So, it is beneficial for a late adult to be able to look back on their life during this time and feel no regret or dissatisfaction with everything that they have done. If they are unable to look back on their life like this, they will live their life until death wishing that they had done things so much more differently.
One way that an individual could achieve integrity would be to see the bad parts of their life in a different light. For example, if a person did something in their past that they are not so proud of, such as committing a crime, they might add humor when describing the scenario that lead them to commit the crime. Describing such a scenario in this way could help the person to look back on their life with contentment when they are at the end of their life. Another way that an individual could achieve integrity might be through giving their children or grandchildren special moral values or cultural keepsakes before they pass away. Leaving their mark on their loved ones by giving moral values or cultural keepsakes could help a person to have more pride and satisfaction with their life when they look back upon it.

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