Chapter 9: Developmental Stages and Tasks
Martin Luther’s Identity Crisis
•Martin Luther is a Catholic monk who started massive religious and cultural
movements termed Protestant Reformation (Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians
•He translated the Bible into German.
•Erik Erikson’s analysis with the “fit in the choir” symbolizes the low point of Luther’s
identity struggle, the point in his own life where he felt cut off from all that had
previously provided his life with meaning.
•In the summer of 1505, while studying to become a lawyer like what his father
wanted, he was struck by lightning and he entered the monastery afterwards.
•Throughout his life, Luther cast his enemies like the Catholic pope in the guise of the
Devil, responding to them in the same way he daily responded to the “old evil foe”.
•The practice of selling indulgences, through which a Christian could pay money to
the church to purchase salvation for his dead relatives, discontented Luther (church
•Upon reading the phrase “the just shall live by faith” at the tower of Wittenberg,
confirmed to Luther that salvation was to be achieved by faith and not through good
works or the sale of indulgences.
•This marked the rise of Luther as a religious leader and the spread of his influence in
the Protestant Reformation.
•He continued to change and develop with respect to his understanding of who he was
and how he fit into the world he struggled to construct an identity.
•Characteristic Developmental Adaptation: an aspect of personality that involved the
resolution of important life tasks during a particular stage of development.
•Whole Erikson (character development) focuses more on the emotional and social
aspects of the developing person, Loevinger’s theory (ego) emphasizes cognition and
Erik Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development
•Developmental Stages in Childhood
oErikson was influenced by Freud who argued that the ultimate forces behind
human behavior and experience are unconscious sexual and aggressive
oLibido: the energy that Freud believed was derived from sexual drives.
oErogenous Zone: in each of the four stages, the libido expresses itself through
a particular zone of the body.
oErikson’s innovation to Freud’s psychosexual stages of libido was to
transform them into a developmental model of psychosocial tasks (first 5
stages were parallel to Freud while last three were extensions of development
oEach stage is defined by a polarity in which a positive feature of the stage is
pitted against a negative feature and it sets up a psychosocial conflict that
must be addressed but not necessarily solved.
oOral Stage: for the first year or so of life, the libido is centered in the oral
zone as sucking at mother’s breast becomes the starting point of sexual life
(trust vs. mistrust or insecurity healthy development is a balance between
oAnal Stage: during the second and third years of life, the toddler’s sensual
energy is expressed mainly in “holding in” and “letting go of” feces; being able
to control one’s bowels or toilet training (autonomy, self-mastery and control
vs. shame and doubt).
oPhallic Stage: between the ages of three and five where the libido is centered
in the genital region; curiosity on sex, masturbating and the Oedipus complex
(initiative and mastery vs. guilt make their own world).
Intrusive Mode of Operation: the intrusion into other bodies by
physical attack; the intrusion into other people’s ears and minds by
aggressive talking; the intrusion into space by vigorous locomotion
and the intrustion into the unknown by consuming curiosity (BOYS).
Inclusive Mode of Operation: teasing, demanding and grasping
oLatency: grade school years where the libido is rarely expressed in an overt
manner, channels their energy into play and peer relations and learning the
tools and roles in a systematic and societally scripted way (industry vs.
•Problem of Identity
oEmerging Adulthood: the early stages are but a prelude to the main act of
late adolescence and young adulthood.
oThe past partly determines the future and the reverse is true; the young
adult looks back upon childhood now and comes to what childhood meant.
oGenital Stage: physiological changes of puberty and the awakening of overt
sexual longing in the teenage years signal the end of the libido’s
transformations (identity vs. role confusion).
Body: adolescents find themselves the inhabitants of new adult-like
Cognition: in adolescence, many people enter the cognitive stage of
formal operations, thinking in abstract terms and not focus only on
reality (gives abstract and hypothetical ideals of how they want to
live their lives).
Society: there are shifts in society’s expectations about the
adolescents on what they should be doing, thinking and feeling (being
In constructing an identity that fits into society’s roles and
expectations, the young person should not blindly conform to what
the family in particular or society in general wants him or her to do
(harmony between both).
oTwo Steps in the Formation of Identity in Early Adult Years
Investigating Alternatives or Exploration: person challenges many of
the viewpoints presented by parents, schools, churches and authority.
Commitments: the questions and doubts of the exploration phase are
resolved and identity ceases to be a pressing psychological concern.
oFour Identity Statuses by Marcia (people may move from one status to
Identity Achievement: the most developmentally advanced status and
they have gone through a period of exploration and have come out of
it having made commitments to occupational and ideological goals
and positions (more academically inclined, less concerned with wining
parents’ love, not conform to peer pressure and base moral decisions
on abstract principles).
Moratorium: they are currently exploring identity issues but have not
yet made commitments and are uncertain about their future
(relatively mature, mature defense mechanisms, friendly but stormy
to parents, they are similar to identity achievers and believes parents
and authority figures are temporary negative identities what they
do not want to become).
Foreclosure: they fail to meet the identity challenge; they fail to
explore but make commitments to unquestioned positions taken from
childhood (close to parents, describe homes as loving, study diligently,
keep regular hours, appear happy, adopt a more authoritarian
outlook on the world, low scores on autonomy and anxiety and tend to
show unrealistically high aspirations).
Identity Diffusion: the most enigmatic; individuals that have yet to
enter exploration and they have yet to make commitments
(ambiguous, withdrawn, feel out of place, socially isolated and report
oPathmakers: both continuity and change in identity from college to midlife
and report self-doubt as present but not disabling (identity achievement
oSearchers: experience more self-doubt and self-criticism but they later find
themselves and made kinds of commitments pathmakers do (moratorium
oGuardians: used firm principles as a foundation upon which to build new and
interesting self-conceptions and discovered inner aspects of themselves by
midlife (foreclosure status).
oDrifters: life paths are checkered and complex but made considerable
progress by midlife in organizing their lives around commitments and goals
and they report the greatest number of regrets about the past they are
now actively exploring their options and revisiting their lives into their 30s
and 40s (identity diffusion status).
•Sixth Stage of Life: intimacy vs. isolation
oIntimacy Status (Orlofsky): interview that determines the quality of intimacy
in a person’s life (intimate, preintimate, stereotyped and isolate).
oMale students who showed relatively mature identity statuses of identity
achievement and moratorium tended to exhibit the more mature intimacy
statuses of intimate and preintimate.
oMen and women who successfully resolved identity questions tended to show
relatively high levels of intimacy.
oThe degree of identity resolution in young adulthood predicted the
establishment (men) and the stability (women) of marital relationships.
oYoung men with high levels of identity resolution were more likely to marry,
whereas those with low levels of identity tend to remain bachelors.
oYoung women with high levels of identity were less likely to experience
divorce and separation in their marriages than women low on identity.
•Seventh Stage of Life: generativity vs. stagnation
oMiddle adulthood focuses on caring for and leaving a legacy to benefit the
next generation while in later adulthood, the person is concerned with