Chapter 9 : Developmental Stages and Tasks
Martin Luther’s Identity Crisis
Erik Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development
Developmental Stages in Childhood
The Problem of Identity
Adolescence and Young Adulthood
Identity and Intimacy
Generativity and Adult Development
A Model of Generativity
Individual Differences in Generativity
Jane Loevinger’s Theory of Ego Development
States of the Ego
Measuring Ego Development
Martin Luther’s basic problem of ego identity, 1507. By 1512 he had worked out an
ideological solution. By 1517, he was translating the solution into radical political
action. By 1522 he had achieved the status of a religious and political celebrity
destined to become one of the most influential men in the history of Western Civ.
Martin Luther’s Identity Crisis
Martin Luther 1483‐1546 started the massive religious and cultural movement of
Protestant Reformation, forming the various Protestant denominations of
Christianity, such as Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists.
Also credited for brining the sacred writings of Christianity to the common people
providing the first authoritative translation of the Bible into German,
Also a very important political figure in German history.
Erik Erikson’s psychobiographical analysis of Luther’s identity formation entitled
Young Man Luther (1958)
• “Fit in the choir”, Luther is questioning who he is and how he fits in
the adult world
o 1505, commitment to Catholic Church by entering a monastery
o Most devout monk, love affair with Catholic church : too
passionate, was in fact a disguise to his doubts and
ambivalence o Luther’s projection of the Devil onto others. His enemies in the
guise of the devil. Later, Catholic Pope and Church became
incarnation of Devil.
• The seeds ofhis discontent with the popo and the church were sown in
the Erfurt monastery as he witnessed the enactment of corrupt church
o The selling of indulgences was to cebome a rallying point for
the entire Protestant reformation as it came to represent both
corruption and the Catholic view of salvation as a commodity
to be bought and sold.
• In 1507, then, he was renouncing his old identity of obedient Church
seeing that the Roman Church = enemy.
o Struck with new insight in 1512 “The just shall live by faith”
o New image of God more accessible to the common person than
the distant God of Christianity. Salvation through faith. Have
faith in Jesus to be redeemed.
• The key events that shaped the bold outlines of his personality
occurred in late adolescence and early adulthood.
⇒ Erikson argues that it is during this critical period that most of us
first confront the problem of identity.
• The concept of identity is therefore a characteristic of
developmental adaptation. It is an aspect of personality that
involves the resolution of important life tasks during a particular
stage of development.
• Erikson believed that the most important part of Luther’s
personality portrait – Luther’s struggle to construct an identity‐ is
left out until we being to see his life in its full development context. ⇒Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development lays out 8 stages of life
through which individuals progress, from birth to death.
• Each stage sets forth an agenda for psychological individuality by
specifying the central psychosocial concerns an indivual faces during
that period of his or her life.
o Bulk of human lifespan: Early adult‐age of identity and the 2
stages following: intimacy and generativity.
⇒ Jane Loevinger and the theory of the development of the ego.
o The ego is a person’s manner to make sense of experiences.
o Emphasizes on cognition and knowing.
Erik Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development
Erik Erikson, born in 1902 in Frankfurt, Germany. Developed an image of self as an
outsider, did not look like a Jew but was not quite accepted among non‐Jews.
Not an exceptional student, he never earned a university degree. An artist in his
early 20s. Crisis of identity ‐> anxiety and panic. Inability to work with discipline
Got a job in Vienna as a teacher in Freud’s schools for his patients and their kids.
Psychoanalysis training with Anna Freud. 1933, he emigrated to the United States,
in Boston where he worked as a psychoanalyst for children. He was naturalized in
1939 and adopted the name of Erikson, very symbolic moment in defining his
DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES IN CHILDHOOD The strongest intellectual influence on Erik Erikson was Freud (forces behind
human behaviors are unconscious sexual and aggressive drives)
libido : energy that is derived from energy drives.
5 stages of libido’s development, expressing itself in particular zone of the
body called erogenous zone
Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency, Genital
Erikson’s major innovation was to take Freud’s psychosexual stages of the libido
and transform them into a developmental model of psychosocial tasks.
8 stages of human development and their corresponding psychosocial tasks
o the first 5 stages go through early adulthood and roughly parallel
Freud’s psychosexual stages
o The last three go from middle age to old age
o All 8 stages are defined by a polarity in which a positive feature is
pitted against a negative feature. ‐> psychosocial conflict
The conflict must be addressed, although not necessarily
resolved in order to move on to the next stage.
Experiences give rise to a particular question that will be asked
and answered in the individual’s behavior. Unconscious
Freud’s psychosexual stages
1. Oral stage
the infant is completely dependent on caregivers for the satisfaction of basic
o Idealization of the mother‐infant bond.
o First year of life, the baby obtains both nourishment and pleasure
from sucking at the breast.
When the tensions produced by needs are consistently and regularly
satisfied (reduced), the infant comes to perceive the environment as a relatively predictable and soothing milieu, laying the groundwork for healthy
Erikson agrees that the libido is centered in the oral zone and constitute the
starting point of sexual life.
o However, the libido is only a part of a broader multidimensional
development of a series of interpersonal relationships that determine
the infant’s experience of basic TRUST and basic MISTRUST
o Sucking = love bond between mother and infant. Feeling of
understanding that the world is safe , life predictable and trustworthy.
o Healthy development is a balance of the 2, must experience mistrust
2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
Libido expressed itself through anal activity. (Anal stage for Freud’s theory)
For Erikson, the centerpiece of the 2‐ or 3‐ year‐old’s psychosocial
experience is the struggle to attain a certain degree of autonomy, freedom,
independence and mastery of the self, and to avoid humiliation, shame,
o Toilet training is important as an achievement of self‐mastery and
o Major advances in locomotion, language and exploratory play provide
unprecedented opportunities for attaining a certain degree of
independence in the world.
3. Phallic stage. (Age 3 to 5)
libido is centered in the genital region. Children become fascinated with their
sex organs and become overly curious about adults’ sex practices.
o Oedipus complex, since this stages mirros unconscious wished
regarding sexuality and aggression aimed at the parents.
Erikson’s 3 stage is preoccupied with power : to move forward in the world
and expland influence in the world. ‐> Initiative vs. Guilt o Children begin to take initiative in their daily lives, striving to master,
divide and conquer their worlds.
o They experience guilt when their aggriessive attempts run afoul or as
they threaten to hurt or damage others and their environment.
Major sex differences in this stage
o Intrusive mode : boys. Intrusion onto other bodies by physical attack,
aggressive talking, vigorous locomotion, consuming curiosity.
o Inclusive mode: girls. Teasing, demanding, grasping.
4. Latency Stage
Libido not expressed in an overt manner. Expanding socialization as children
internalize their values, normal’s, rules and skills of society.
For Erikson, children are now facing the challenges of Industry vs. Inferiority.
o Society marks the transition of the resolution of the Oedipus complex
by beginning systematic instruction ‐> schooling.
o The schooling is designed to render the young boy or girl proficient in
using the tools and assuming the roles of adulthood.
Tools : anything to powers of body and mind to promote the
economic, technological, political, educational and religious
Roles : particular structured activities that adults perform in a
socially scripted way.
The protagonist the Erikson’s scheme is the industrious schoolchild immers
in the reading, writing and arithmetic of his culture. Also learns proper
modes and manners of conduct expected outside the workplace.
o Wider society becomes significant. Learning to be a good worker,
good citizen and good member of society.
o How can I be good?
Highly formative developmental period, churches and schools deliver their
most influential lessons on how to be good.
THE PROBLEM OF IDENTITY
Emerging adulthood : late adolescence and early adulthood.
it is at this time of life that the person seriously addresses the question of
IDENTITY: Who am I?
The four stages of childhood leave the person with a unique pool of
resources and handicaps, strengths and weaknesses that will be called upon
in making of an identity. The past partly determines the future.
o Opposite also true, as a teenage or young adult, we look back and
determine what our childhood meant. The late partly determines the
Erikson’s quote “To be adult means among other things to see one’s own life
in continuous perspective, both in retrospect and prospect. (…)”
Adolescence and Young Adulthood
5. Genital stage.
For Freud, puberty marks the beginning of the libido’s last stage and the end
of development. Awakening of overt sexual longing = end of libido’s
Erikson also viewed puberty as an ending and as a transformation.
Psychosocial stage of Identity vs. role confusion
o 3 reasons why we confront our identity in adolescence
a. Body : new adultlike bodies, different from what we have known
before. Primary and secondary sexual characteristics and eruption of
overt sexual longings. Tells us that we are NOT what we used to be,
different from what I was before, so what am I now? b. Cognition : Jean Piaget argues that in adolescence we enter the
cognitive stage of Formal Operations : first time that we are able to
think about the world and ourselves in highly abstract terms. Reality
is now understood as a subset of what might be. The real one is one
manifestation of the hypothetical.
i. The introspective and abstract orientation to self and world
may result in the formulation of hypothetical ideals. Taking
into account alternative lives and systems of living, motivating
them to explore new ways to experience the world and to
question things learned in childhood.
ii. Is there a real me behing all the different roles I play? Idea of
unitary and whole self rises.
c. Society. Shifts in society’s expectations about what the individual
should be doing, thinking, feeling.
i. Erikson’s quote “The period can be viewed as a psychosocial
moratorium through free role experimentation may find a
niche in some sextion of his society, a niche which is firmly
defined and yet seems to be uniquely made for him. Assured
sense of inner continuity and social sameness and will
reconcile his conception of himself and his community
recognition of him”
ii. TENSION : between the niche of society and the individual’s
desire to carve out his own niche. Individual and society create
identity together. The adolescent should be neither victim nore
master of his of her sociohistorical environment, should rather
be a dynamic tension.
Focus on the process of formulating such questions as Who am I ? How do I fit into
the adult world? 2 steps 1. EXPLORATION: The young person breaks away from childhood beliefs and
views, questions assumptions about the self and the world and begins to
a. Challenge viewpoints by parents, schools churches and authority.
b. Also might question the past, imagine what might have been
Begin to sample alternative beliefs, values, ideologies, behaviors, and
lifestyles, searching for the overall approach to life that seems to fit.
2. COMMITMENT: The young person makes commitments to various roles and
outlooks that define how the young person sees himself fitting into the adult
a. Questions and doubts of the exploration phase are resolved. Identity
is not a psychosocial concern anymore.
Heart of identity : occupation, and ideology
According to a semi‐structured interview designed by James Marcia about
exploration and commitment, young persons are categorized in 4 different
1. Identity achievement, the most developmentally advanced
Those who achieved this went through a period of exploration
and have made commitment to occupational and ideological
goals and positions.
Rely on their own skills and capacities
Internalized their goals, more motivated
More academically inclined, higher grades in college.
Make decisions in an autonomous and principled fashion, not
conforming to peer pressure and social norms.
a. Exploring identity issues but not yet made a commitment. b. Much in common with identity achievers. More mature in
college, richer and more individuated conceptions of
themselves. Better management of stress
c. More engaged and exploratory style in processing
information about the world
d. Marked ambivalence towards parents. May reject authority
figures as temporary negatives identities (everything NOT
to be) ‐> increased level of anxiety
e. Adults in moratorium stage described as very friendly,
likable, sensitive and insightful.
a. Failed to meet the identity challenge. Fails to explore, but
makes commitments to unquestioned positions taken from
childhood. Security of childhood roles, beliefs and
b. Occupationally, they choose to do exactly what important
figures tell them to.
c. Ideologically, beliefs and values from childhood are
transported intact and unsullied, rarely questioned and
d. Very close to parents, home is loving and affectionate
e. Best behaved of statuses. They adopt a more authoritarian
outlook on the world than other statuses.
f. Low on autonomy and anxiety and they tend to have
unrealistically high levels of aspiration.
4. Identity diffusion
a. Most enigmatic. Have yet to enter exploration and yet to
make commitments. ‐> Ambiguity
b. Withdrawal. Out of place and isolated.
c. Parents are distant and misunderstanding, approach
relationships with extreme caution. d. Sense little past to integrat, little furture for shich to plan,
they were only what they felt in the present
People go from one status to another, as identity is negotiated and reworked
in different ways. Psychosocial stage of Identity vs. Confusion.
Josselson longitudinal study of 30 women in senior year of college.
o Identity achievers as path makers as they move well into adulthood
with a sense of conviction in the basic meaningfulness of their lives
and choices. Self‐doubt is present but not disabling.
o Moratorium status continued to act as searchers in the 30s. More self‐
doubt and self‐critcism and reports more vivid emotions and stronger
spirituality. They did found themselves sooner or later and reach
o Significant growth and development were also apparent among
college foreclosures (guardians) and those classified as identity
Guardians used their firm principles as a foundation upon
which to build new and interesting self‐conceptions.
Drifters showed life paths that were checkered and complex,
but most made considerable progress by midlife in organizing
their lives and setting goals. Growing into greater
consciousness and control. Identity formation in midlife years.
Identity and Intimacy
6 stage of life : Intimacy vs. Isolation
Relationship between 5 stage (Identity vs. Confusion) and this one is very complex
‐> many people describe their identity in terms of their intimate relationships. Or
intimacy issues may rise before identity issues in many cases. The establishment of
the adult self ad the development of intimate relationships may be difficult to
separate from each other. But Erikson suggests that a person might be unable to be truly intimate with others until he has first made considerable progressing the
Intimacy Status (Orlofsky). They designed a semi‐structured interview to determine
the quality of intimacy in a person’s life. (Table 9.4 p.363)
3. Stereotyped relationships
Modest but significant positive correlation between the 2 measures of
identity and intimacy.
o College male students that were categorized as identity achievers or
moratorium stages were more likely to be in stages of intimacy and
o Tesch and Whitbourne researched the relation between identity and
intimacy in 48 men and 44 women. Added a fifth dimension of
intimacy : the merger.
Men and women who had resolved important identity
questions tended to show relatively high levels of intimacy.
Those showing lowest levels of identity resolution also scored
low levels of intimacy
o Relation between the extent to which a yound adult resolved identity
problems and the quality of married life assessed 18 years later.
Results : degree of identity resolution in young adulthood
predicted the establishment (men) and the stability (women)
of marital relationships in midlife.
GENERATIVITY AND ADULT DEVELOPMENT Last 2 stages of Erikson’s psychosocial model of development ends in middle life
and later adulthood. Midlife focuses on caring for and leaving a legacy. In later
adulthood, the person is concerned with looking back upon his own life and coming
to accept life as something thas has been good.
Generativity vs. Stagnation is the 7 stage. Long period of life between young
and late adulthood.
o The prototype for generativity is raising children ‐> fulfillment of
basic “need to be needed” and directly promote the next generation.
o Other ways to reach generativity through occupation, creative activity,
community involvements, etc.
o The generative adult acts on the desire to invest one’s substance in
forms of life and work that will outlive the self. Commitment to some
activity that is larger than his own life, investing significant time and