Living in this world, many people usually undergo several human stages of development, namely, infancy (birth), childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age (death). However, the research in the areas shows that there are a lot of other different stages a person should come through his/her development.
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One of the most appropriate and famous classification of the psychological stages of a human being is Erik Erikson’s one. He has conducted a thorough research in the field of human psychology and age; he managed to distinguish and classify eight stages of development.
Each of these stages is characterized by the age, particular virtues, psycho social crisis, and varying relationships. Moreover, considering the case studies devoted to Chrystell and Betty in Funder and Ozer (2010), it becomes evident that these psychological stages discussed by Erik Erikson perfectly match people’s lives. Having considered each of the stages in detail the analysis of the specific case studies is going to be conducted with a reference to the real life examples.
The first stage discussed by Erikson takes place from the birth up to the age of two years. During this period a person may express various wishes, however, there exists the main psycho social crisis, namely, the conflict between trust and mistrust.
A person at this age tries to understand whether it is possible to trust words and who should be trusted. During this period of time a child is able to trust only his/her mother or the one who takes care of him/her. During such everyday actions as feeding and taking care, the children understand who may be trusted and who should not be.
The second stage of the human development according to Erikson is the age from two to four years. This age is characterized by the fact that a human being undergoes his/her main development. Children in this period of their development already do a lot of things themselves; however, parents remain the main people in their lives. Gender peculiarities become essential at this stage and children try to understand their autonomic issues often interconnected with shame and doubt (Nevid, 2008).
The purpose of one’s life is the main characteristic feature of the next period of time of children (4-5 years) being supported with family care. It may be noted that with the age children develop more relationships with people, they enlarge their scope of friends and people they socialize with.
Children ask themselves what they can do, whether it is a norm for them to perform their responsibilities and whether it is normal if they act more. School and sports become the main interests for children aged 5-12. Children at this age become even more interested in the surrounding world and their ability to act appropriately in that world.
Competence with others is the main virtue of this period of time. Personal identity and role confusion become interesting for people aged 13-19. This is the period when teenagers try to understand who they are and what things they can be involved in. Peers become role models during this period of development and fidelity often becomes one of the most important features of people. At the age of 20-24 love and romantic relationships become a priority.
Friends and parents become closer while others are kept at distance (Watts, Cockcroft, & Duncan, 2009). This period of human development is substituted by care about family and worrying about work related issues. This is the lengthiest period as it lasts from 25 up to 64 years old. Wisdom is the central virtue of the last psychological stage of Erikson’s classification. It is characterized by the reflection of personal life, by despair and doubts whether the life one has lived deserves to be called significant life.
Returning to the case studies discussed in the study book, the following data should be mentioned by the example of Chrystell, an eight year old girl, who along with her psychological peculiarities has entered the competence stage. She has to understand everything herself and react faster to life events as she has got a smaller sister to take care of. Mother does not give her necessary attention which is why she feels uncomfortable.
This psychological stage is rather complicated. A child enters school life which becomes a completely new world for him/her. Having difficulties and lack of attention at home, a child feels abandon. This is a critical stage for the development of self confidence. Parental attention to another child is the reason for her bad behavior and other incorrect attitudes towards the surrounding people.
Betty, being another example, has faced the last eighth stage of Erikson’s classification. Having lived a full life she questions herself whether her life was good enough or not, she doubts her place in this life, etc. This condition is inherent to many people. When active life is far behind and when nothing can be changed people start thinking about their place in lives, about their deeds, and goals. Thinking of personal value in life and the importance of the things done is the way of consideration of personal contribution into this world.
Therefore, one may conclude that the situations discussed in the case studies are ordinary and may be present in each person’s life. People may be characterized in accordance with the psychological stages of their development. Being humans we share lots of the same traits, that is, have much in common depending on the age of our development.
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Funder, D. C., & Ozer, D. J. (2010). Pieces of the Personality Puzzle: Readings in Theory and Research. New York: W. W. Norton.
Nevid, J. S. (2008). Psychology: Concepts and Applications. Stamford: Cengage Learning.
Watts, J., Cockcroft, K., & Duncan, N. (2009). Developmental Psychology. New York: Juta and Company Ltd.