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Development Throughout the Lifespan

Erikson and Freud are two of the few theorists who have developed a lifespan approach to development. Freud’s approach to development was psychosexual while Erikson’s was psychosocial. Even though Freud’s theory is better known, Erikson’s theory remains a leading and very much applied model in personality and developmental psychology today.

When considering these two stage-oriented theories, you can directly compare the majority of their stages. These are matched in the following table:

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Approximate Age

Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development

Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial development

Infancy (Birth to 1 year)

Oral stage

Trust versus mistrust

Early childhood (1–3 years)

Anal stage

Autonomy versus doubt

Preschool (3–6 years)

Phallic stage

Initiative versus guilt

School age (7–11 years)

Latent period

Industry versus inferiority

Adolescence (12–18 years)

Genital stage

Identity versus role confusion

Young adulthood (19–40 years)

Intimacy versus isolation

Middle adulthood (40–65 years)

Generativity versus stagnation

Older adulthood (65–death)

Integrity versus despair

When considering Erikson’s eight stages of development, the way a person moves through each stage directly affects their success in the next stage. Their personality is being built and shaped with each stage. At each stage, there is a turning point, called a crisis by Erikson, which a person must confront.

In this assignment, you will observe or interview two different people, each at a different stage of development. For a third observation, take a look at yourself and the stage that you are in (this stage must be different from your other two observations).

  • Record your three observations in a template. Include the following information:
    • Name
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Current developmental stage
    • Status within the stage (i.e., identity achievement or role confusion)
    • Events that have lead to this status

Download a Development Template to record your observations.

  • Summarize what you have learned about psychosocial development through these observations/interviews.
  • Summarize the trends you see in your observations/interviews regarding psychosocial development.
  • How does movement through Erikson’s stages influence personality development? Again, be specific.
  • How do Erikson’s stages of development compare to Freud’s stages? How are they similar? How are they different?
  • Between these two theories, which one do you feel best explains your own personality development? Justify your answers with specific examples.

Write a 3–4-page paper in Word format. Insert your chart at the end of your paper. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

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