My specialty area of nursing practice is a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is one of the most frequently applied in psychiatric nursing. The theory was created in the 1960s by a German-American psychologist Erik Erikson (Degges-White, 2017). The scholar developed a man of individual psychosocial development, the scope of which includes human experience’s crises and touchpoints from birth to death. Apart from representing a person’s development throughout life, Erikson’s theory also serves as an approach to identity formation and “the process of establishing a coherent sense of self” (Knight, 2016, p. 1046). The logical adequacy of the theory is justified by a division of the life cycle into meaningful turning points. The following stages constitute the theory:
- trust versus mistrust (birth – 18 months);
- autonomy versus shame and doubt (18 months – 3 years);
- initiative versus guilt (3-5 years);
- industry versus inferiority (5-12 years);
- identity versus identity confusion (12-18 years);
- intimacy versus isolation (18-40 years);
- generativity versus stagnation (40-65 years);
- and integrity versus despair (65+ years) (Degges-White, 2017).
The theory is both useful and easy to implement since it allows a specialist to evaluate the crisis that dominates in a patient’s life. By doing so, the psychiatrist nurse practitioner will be able to conclude whether the person has coped with the current crisis. Without the timely resolution of one stage, an individual cannot cope with the next level, which can have considerable adverse effects on his or her psychological development (Degges-White, 2017).
The theory is likely to have a low level of generalizability since psychological research commonly has qualitative nature, whereas high rates of generalizability pertain to quantitative analysis. However, the theory has a relevant level of testability due to establishing both the developmental function of a person and individual divergences in development (Dunkel & Harbke, 2016). The theory is highly applicable in psychiatric nursing practice since it allows assessing the current or emerging problems in an individual’s psychological state. An example of a theory application for evaluation of the quality of nursing is assessing the patients’ tendency to move to the next stage of Erikson’s theory after a certain number of sessions.
Degges-White, S. (2017). Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. In W. K. Killam & S. Degges-White (Eds.), College student development: Applying theory to practice on the diverse campus (pp. 35-48). Springer Publishing Company.
Dunkel, C. S., & Harbke, C. (2016). A review of measures of Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development: Evidence for a general factor. Journal of Adult Development, 24(1), 58-76. Web.
Knight, Z. G. (2016). A proposed model of psychodynamic psychotherapy linked to Erik Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 24(5), 1047-1058. Web.