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Description of Erickson’s theory

You have been hired as a consultant by an advertising firm that is developing a series of
commercials family-oriented theme park. The commercials will target family members at
various life stages. You have decided that understanding Erikson’s theory of psychosocial
development will help you with this assignment.
You will start by describing each stage of Erikson’s theory.
Include in your description an analysis of a character that best represents each stage of life.
The character can be from television show, a movie, or a literary character from a book.
You can also use a person that you know in your life such as a friend or relative.
In each case be sure to explain how each character represents the stage, and how the
character resolves conflict.
Your assessment will be used by the advertising firm to help in developing commercials
targeting various developmental stages.
Your deliverable to the advertising firm will be a 2-3 page report with your research
results. You will submit one Word document with the following information:
Description of Erickson’s theory – A description of each stage of development using the
description in above list. Remember to include a description of a character that represents
each stage of development.
Please use the following guidelines for formatting your assignment.
Margins – set to one inch
Font – 12pt. Times New Roman, no bold, or underline
Title – center above the paper, 12 pt. font (Level A Heading), no bold, underline, or italics
Pagination – every page; consists of a header containing a short title for the paper and page
number placed in the upper right corner of the page
Line Spacing – double space all work including the References Page.
Point-of-View – third person, objective; limit perspective to research; no personal opinion
or narrative
In-text citations – must conform to APA requirements
References list – must conform to APA requirements
Be sure to document your references using APA format.
For assistance with your assignment, please use your text, Web resources, and all course
materials. Please refer to the following multimedia course material(s).
Week 5 – Conception through Childhood and Adult
Week 5 – Personality Traits

Description of Erickson’s theory

According to Vogel-scibilia, Mcnulty, Baxter, Miller, Dine & Frese (2009)
Erickson’s Theory of Human Development is a creation of one of the most famous
psychoanalysts of the 20 th century and perhaps in the entire human history, Erik Erickson, who
was essentially a Freudian ego-psychologist. Erickson took Sigmund Freud’s basic theories and

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used them as the basic foundation of his human personality analysis theory. However, Erickson’s
human development theory focused more on social and cultural orientation and thus veered off
Freud’s id, ego and super ego psychoanalysis theory. Erickson’s theory closely ties personality
growth with parental and societal values.
Erik Erickson introduced the concept of identity crisis which is thought as a conflict
between self and society (Robins, 2010). The topic on human personality is quite complex and
Erickson’s Theory of Human Development attempts to simplify it through eight distinct stages of
human development. Each of the eight human development stages focuses on different conflicts
that must be resolved before advancing to the next stage. The theory propagates that an
individual’s in ability to resolve each human development stage conflict impairs his ability to
acquire the virtue required to enable him deal with the succeeding stage conflict issues
successively. In addition, the failure in dealing with certain human development stage conflicts is
manifest in a person’s later stages of life according to Erickson’s Theory of Human Development
(Schwartz, Zamboanga, Weisskirch& Wang, 2010).
Erickson’s eight stages of human development
The first stage of human development is referred to as Oral Sensory. This stage occurs as
from birth of a child and ends when the child is about 18 month old. The conflict issue that a
child must resolve at this stage is to learn to trust or mistrust other people and the society in
general. In this case we look at a Biblical personality of Moses in the book of Exodus. This is a
child who was born reportedly during a time of great turbulence. He was able to draw a lot of
support and care from his mother who hid him for three months. At this stage a child gets to
trust and love the mother or caregiver (Vogel-scibilia, Mcnulty, Baxter, Miller, Dine & Frese,

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2009). If the care and love is predictable and consistent the child develops trust otherwise he
starts mistrusting the society around him.
The second stage of human development according to Erickson is Muscular Anal. This is
the stage in the life of a child between 18 months to three years. The psychosocial crisis that the
child faces at this stage is Autonomy Vs Doubt. A child is probably learning to walk, speak and
also learning many things in the environment (Robins, 2010). At this stage children learn to tie
shoe laces and go to the toilet. Erickson advised parents at this stage to give some degree of
autonomy in a controlled environment. The virtue that a child could acquire at this stage is will
and parents could achieve this by practicing self control without a loss of self-esteem. Too much
protection and admonition on failure could make a child doubt itself and make it feel like it is not
trusted (Schwartz, Zamboanga, Weisskirch& Wang, 2010).
Erickson identified the third stage as the locomotor which is prevalent in the ages of 3 to
6 years. The psychosocial crisis in this stage is initiative vs. guilt. Children in this stage try to
undertake task that they are incapable of. Children should acquire the virtue of purpose in this
stage. At this stage a child attempts many things at once. Parents could encourage them or
reprimand them which create guilt in the child’s heart (Vogel-scibilia, Mcnulty, Baxter, Miller,
Dine & Frese, 2009). A child carrying a lot of guilt may become antisocial. The fourth stage is
Latency which is prevalent in 2 to 12 years children. The psychosocial crisis is industry vs.
inferiority. This is the school going age and parents should encourage their children to complete
homework and assignments. The children will develop industry or competence and grow up
knowing that they can complete tasks. Too much control makes children to merely become
followers rather than risk takers (Vogel-scibilia, Mcnulty, Baxter, Miller, Dine & Frese, 2009).

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The fifth stage is according to Erickson is Adolescence which is between 12 to 18 years.
The psychosocial conflict at this stage is Identity vs. Role Confusion. This is the teenage years’
time. In this stage children are looking on how to fit in society and seek more independence. At
this stage children start identifying what they would wish to be in future. Inability to identify
their future roles creates a form of role confusion. This could not be more acted out like in the
TV series “everyone hates Chris” (Vogel-scibilia, Mcnulty, Baxter, Miller, Dine & Frese, 2009).
Where Chris the lead actor seeks more independence to decide on what he would want to be in
future and views his family as meddling too much in his affairs. The sixth stage is Young
Adulthood which runs from 19 years to about 40 years of age. In this stage an individual is trying
to build a relationship and is basically seeking for love. The psychosocial crisis is intimacy vs.
isolation. Individuals seek for relationships that might lead to marriage. Those who succeed to
find soul mates find comfortable relationships which create a sense of care, safety and
commitment. Otherwise individuals who fail get lonely and feel isolated from the rest of society.
The fresh prince of Bel air is one such a TV program where Will Smith is looking for intimacy
with members of the opposite sex (Schwartz, Zamboanga, Weisskirch& Wang, 2010).
Middle Adulthood is defined as the seventh stage with individual ages ranging between
40 to 65 years. The psychosocial crisis is Generativity vs. Stagnation. Those individuals who
identify a career that enables them contribute to society and those who are able to see the bigger
picture achieve generativity whereas the opposite feel like they have stagnated in life. The last of
the eight human development stages is Maturity, which is for individuals aged over 65 years.
The virtue achieved here is wisdom. The psychosocial crisis is Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Those
individuals who have no regrets about life tend to achieve Ego Integrity but those who feel like
they did not achieve their goals tend to enter into despair stage (Vogel-scibilia, Mcnulty, Baxter,

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Miller, Dine & Frese, 2009). The late Nelson Mandela is one example of a man who achieved
Ego Integrity. He brought down apartheid which a system that disenfranchised the black
community and denied them the right to live dignified human lives. Black people could not get
quality jobs and were subjected to all forms of discrimination in apartheid regimes. The late
Nelson Mandela achieved the goal for which he served 27 years in prison for. He was thus ready
for his exit from the scene when his time drew nigh (Schwartz, Zamboanga, Weisskirch& Wang,


Robins, S. P. (2010). Awakening to the concept of “interbeing”. Interbeing, 4(2), 39-42.

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Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., Weisskirch, R. S., & Wang, S. C. (2010). The relationships of
personal and cultural identity to adaptive and maladaptive psychosocial functioning in
emerging adults. The Journal of Social Psychology, 150(1), 1-33.

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