Erickson’s Last Three Stages of Adulthood.
Erickson’s sixth stage of development is intimacy versus isolation. This is the young adulthood stage experienced between 18 and 35 years. Individuals in this stage develop and form cherished relationships with other people. According to Erickson, developing intimacy involves the task of finding oneself and at the same time losing oneself in another person (Erickson,1950). In this stage, young adult tries to form healthy relationships with other people.Basic positive feelings developed in this young adulthood stage is love and affiliation. Young adults struggle to meld their identities with identities of their friends as they are eager to fit in the society. On the other hand, rejection is their main fear. Rejection taken as painful turn down which cannot be accepted by the ego of a young adult.
After identities established, young adults are willing to make lasting relationships. This can lead to marriage (Santrock, 2010). They prepared for any wanting efforts for the sake of relationships. The initial milestone of this stage is that one tends to seek for single or multiple lovers and companions. Great efforts made my individuals establish satisfactory relationships. This mostly done by getting married and making strong long-lasting friendships. This is the stage when one settles down with a family. However, many people enter this stage later being in their thirties when they decide to get married. Feelings of deep love and intimacy experienced if In case an individual fails to develop intimacy and friendships with others, he/she becomes isolated. The individual feels deserted by others. When a person feels alienated, the world shrinks and an individual starts to fight feelings of inferiority. As a result of this fight, one develops superiority complex in relation to others. The most fundamental relationships in this stage are mutual friendships and marriage (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2004).
The seventh development stage according to Erickson is the middle adulthood stage. Generativity and stagnation are the main ego development outcomes. This stage lasts from 35 years of age to 55 or even 65 years. The main factors that influence the outcomes of this stage are production and care. The key concern in this stage, is assisting young adults to develop and lead useful lives. Job is the chief area of concentration. According to Erickson, individuals in this stage totally occupied with meaningful work to support their families (Erickson, 1950). Persons are in charge of their lives in this stage. Middle aged adults aim at transmitting values and culture to their kinds through working hard and building stable environment. They determined to care for others and to increase productivity with an aim of improving the society (Crain & William, 2011). Adults express love and attachment to the members of the community without engaging in sexual contacts. They help children to grow and become responsible adults. One of their central ideas is establishing comfortable homes for their families. They are able to achieve civil and social responsibility, as well as, emotional maturity. This is what Erickson refers to as generativity. People at this stage is afraid of meaninglessness and inactivity (Erickson, 1950). When children mature and get out of relationship boundaries with their parents as they leave home for schools and work, parents’ goals charge immediately. Adults start facing crises as they struggle to find a new meaning and purpose in life. In case they do not succeed in this stage, they stagnate and feel self-absorbed.
The most fundamental relationships, in this stage, built within the family, work place, and the community. Erickson’s final development stage is integrity versus despair stage. This is the late adulthood stage, which people enter between 55years and 65 years until death (Erickson, 1993). Wisdom is the chief factor that influences the outcome in this stage. This is a period when individuals are old, and the most noteworthy aspect of concentration is achievements in their lives. During this stage, individuals evaluate what they have done in their lives. In various ways, senior persons have created a virtuous outlook in the past development stages. If one is successful in the previous stages of development, his/her reflective considerations reveal well lived lives. This makes an individual feel satisfied with their lives and, therefore, the integrity virtue developed (Crain & William, 2011). Erickson argues that most of the time spent as people prepare for the seventh stage. During this last stage, individual usually rests from middle adulthood, which is much, involving. This is the reason older adults look back at their lives and feels contented if they have achieved something meaningful in life. This is what Erickson refers to as integrity. Individuals in this stage have a deep sense of fulfillment. Their strength rooted in their wisdom and the belief that the universe is quite extensive. They accept death as the last stage which completes the cycle of life.
However, some senior adults experience despair in this stage as they evaluate their failures in life. They still feel the need to struggle and make life meaningful. They also do not accept death in their mind. They realize that they did not accomplish life goals and, therefore, were unproductive. This dissatisfaction leads to hopelessness and depression (Santrock, 2010).