This study aims to analyze two interviews based on the views of Erikson, Vaillant, Levinson, and Peck. The paper will assess the answers and place the interviewees on the development stages according to different theories.
The subjects of the research are a man and a woman, 45 and 48 years of age respectively. They preferred not to disclose their names or other personal information. Thus, the man would be referred to as “Subject A” and the woman as “Subjects B”. Both of the interviewees consider their family an important part of their lives. Subject A feels that the society has a considerable effect on the wellbeing of the humanity. He pointed out that by developing the positive views within the society, we can make the world a better place. Subject B, on the other hand, considers society to be mostly affected by changes enacted by individuals. Both interviewees are content with their position and life and feel that they play a positive role in the society. Subject A remembers being insecure about his perspectives in the adolescence. Subject B does not recall feeling uncertain as she was growing up. A admits to poor understanding of modern technology while B is enthusiastic about using it but considers herself to be bad at it. The male interviewee views the homeless as a burden to the society and disdains them. He thinks that they are just too lazy to work.
The female, on the contrary, feels that the homeless are victims of the circumstances. She thinks they should be helped to reintegrate into the society. A does not mind the intercultural interactions but is concerned with Islamic people whom he considers dangerous. B thinks the cultures should not interact too closely in order to avoid assimilation. Both subjects consider themselves rather difficult to upset with anything. They also feel confident in their current way of life though they preferred not to go into details about their way of life. I have been allowed to note that both interviewees belong to the middle class. Subject A believes he is able to judge anybody well on the first sight. B prefers to avoid coming to any conclusion based on the first impressions. The male interviewee is content with his career and thinks he has been a valuable asset to his company. The female feels she has accomplished a lot but notes that she sometimes feels she could have done better. Both subjects are enthusiastic about any opportunity to organize community events, A even notes that he feels it is his responsibility. A has been married for 15 years. He feels happy about his marriage and considers his wife to be supportive and kind. B divorced five years ago. She prefers to avoid any details. Both interviewees reported to be healthy and content with the healthcare system. Subject A is not concerned about growing old. He thinks he will be fine going on. B feels insecure about her age. She admitted that she hopes to build a family before she turns 50.
Analysis Based on Erikson’s Theory
Judging by their ages, the subjects should be in their middle adulthood according to all development theories. Based on the Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development, both interviewees can be placed as going through adulthood (“Identity and Life Cycle” 35). Their answers indicate a solid confidence in their ways of life. The conflict of stagnation and generativity is also easily identifiable. It is well illustrated by the disparate views of two subjects on the technology. While A represents tendencies towards stagnation by ignoring the modern advancements, B demonstrates generativity by adapting and striving for perfection. However, interviewee B also seems to be not entirely past her early adulthood. She demonstrates insecurity considering her personal life. B is going through a transitional period and still has not established herself fully. For her to establish herself in the adulthood, she needs to satisfy her needs for love and intimacy which are the part of early adulthood (“Identity: Youth and Crisis” 125).
Analysis Based on Levinson’s Theory
From the perspective of the Stage-Crisis View developed by Daniel Levinson, subject A has passed his transition phase and is solidly in the Middle Adulthood stage (Levinson 187). His views are settled, and his life is stable. One of the criteria of the Middle Adulthood is becoming a part of the “middle-aged society”. That is strongly reflected by the A’s view on the community events. He considers himself to be a responsible member of that society. B has mostly finished her transition but has not resolved all of her transitional issues yet. Her insecurity regarding the family life seems to be the last barrier to resolving the crisis. However, it does not look like the problems she experiences fully prevent her from leading a fulfilling life which is an important part of a middle-aged person’s life according to Levinson.
Analysis Based on Vaillant’s Theory
Vaillant’s successful aging model gives a new perspective on the answers by addressing various variables ignored by the Erikson’s basic view (Lachman 290). Education and health are named among the important factors for successful adult development. Both interviewees are in good health and are managing to resolve the ongoing conflicts in their lives. A received college education and B graduated a university. Thus, according to the Vaillant’s theory, they are developing well. Both of them have already passed the first additional development stage proposed by the researcher called “Career Consolidation.” Based on the assessment of the subjects themselves they have done so successfully. None of them has yet reached “Keepers of Meaning” stage, it seems. Their focus does not yet lie with teaching the younger generation and relating their experiences (Nolan and Kadavil 170).
Analysis Based on Peck’s Theory
From the viewpoint of Peck, subject B suffers from poor ability to shift emotional focus. Despite being five years away from her divorce, she still seems deeply discomforted by her previous relationship. A has problems with mental rigidity. He has trouble adapting to the new realities and some of his cultural views are based on the outdated concepts and generalization if we are to judge based on his thoughts on Islam. It is also possible that A does not value wisdom as much. He is too certain he can judge people based on first impressions. It is almost impossible to assess somebody’s intellect on the first sight. Thus, according to Peck’s theory both subjects have some issues with their development during the middle adulthood (Austrian 210).
Both interviewees experience psychological conflicts and express values characteristic of the middle adulthood. Both of them have experienced various difficulties with the adult development. Summarizing all of the theoretic analysis, it can be concluded that they are developing coherently, but some problems stop them from achieving a perfect state described by each theory.
Austrian, Sonia G. Developmental Theories Through the Life Cycle. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2008. Print.
Erikson, Erik H. Identity and the Life Cycle. New York, NY: International Universities Press, 1959. Print.
Erikson, Erik H. Identity, Youth and Crisis. New York, NY: Norton, 1968. Print.
Lachman, Margie E. Handbook of Midlife Development. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2001. Print.
Levinson, Daniel J. The Seasons of a Man’s Life. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1986. Print
Nolan, Robert E and Nidhin Kadavil. “Vaillant’s Contribution to Research and Theory of Adult Development”. Scholarworks Online. Web.