Human Development as per Erikson’s Theory

When I think of older people, the ideas of a different perspective on life, health issues, and the need for support come to my mind. Such connections are common for many people, and they result from different contexts, such as media, social stereotypes, and personal experience with one’s grandparents (Brierley, 2019). According to Berger (2017), “ageism is still a social problem” since people have controversial, at times negative, views on older people and growing old (p. 183). As for my ideas of older adults, they are based on the desire to acknowledge the associated challenges and difficulties and support the elderly. However, my view can have underlying problems, such as treating older people as weaker and dependent, based on ageist stereotypes, even though it happens with good intentions.

As per Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, the seventh stage of life, generativity vs. stagnation, involves finding a way to contribute to the world. During the last stage of life, (ego) integrity vs. despair, people tend to reflect on their life and question its meaningfulness (Degges-White, 2017). The issue of personal contribution and the pursuit of a sense of fulfillment are similar in both stages. However, the difference between them lies in people’s approach to dealing with their concerns: taking action to contribute to society or reflecting on their lives to assess it. For instance, my neighbor, who is in her seventh stage according to Erikson’s theory, faced the risk of stagnation until she joined a voluntary organization to feel involved and helpful. Another example is my neighbor in her eighth stage, who seems to experience satisfaction with her life and family, along with regrets regarding an unaccomplished degree and career-related decisions.

Attitudes towards death can vary significantly in different individuals as a result of various factors. According to Kalish (2019), the five stages of dying are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Culture is one of the elements that shape a person’s experience of the stages since it influences their education, religious beliefs, and personal values and philosophies. Therefore, such attitude towards death and respective reactions, such as anger, depression, or acceptance, can vary across different cultures.


Berger, R. (2017). Aging in America: Ageism and general attitudes toward growing old and the elderly. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 5(8), 183-199. Web.

Brierley, S. S. (2019). An introduction to psychology. Routledge.

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.

Kalish, R. A. (2019). Death, dying, transcending: Views from many cultures. Routledge.

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PsychologyWriting. "Human Development as per Erikson’s Theory." October 19, 2023.