Erickson Theory in Context of Case Study


Social workers are professionals who tend to provide support to the children, adults, families, or members of community to improve their quality of life (BASW UK, 2020). The Morgan family It aims to explore the issues faced by the children of the Morgan family, with particular emphasis on Jake and Harry. They both have learning disabilities and have SEN statements for their emotional and behavioral difficulties. Jane and Mark are their parents, who are both alcoholic. Jane has symptoms of anxiety and depression, while Mark has addiction of Class A drugs. The local child’s services have increased concerns for the care of Morgan family’s children.

The aim of the current report is to investigate the needs of the children of Morgan family, especially Jake and Harry. It will explore the need of the family and what strategies can be used by the childcare services to help them move forward and enhance their quality of life.

Task 1

Lifespan development

Lifespan or lifecycle development is a concept which explores the process through which Individuals experience change in their physical appearance and cognitive development. Individuals experience lifecycle development from conception till their demise. It is a life-long process of physical and mental growth and alteration in the body (Meyer & Ciccarelli, 2016). There are various developmental domains such as physical, cognitive, social, and psychosocial, emotional, behavioral, etc. Developmental theorists e.g. Sigmund Freud, Erick Erickson, Jean Piaget, Albert Bandura have formulated their psychosexual, psychosocial, and cognitive development, social learning theories, respectively, to describe the process involved in lifecycle development (Lumen, 2020).

Stages of lifespan development

Commonly, there are three stage of lifespan development i.e. Childhood, Adulthood, and Old Age. However, contemporary theorists of developmental psychology poised that lifespan development consists of nine stages: Pre-natal development, Infancy, Early childhood, Middle childhood, Adolescences, Early Adulthood, Middle adulthood, Late adulthood, and Death (Feldman, 2013). The details of these lifespan stages in the context of given case study of Jake is as follows:

Pre-natal development

Nature vs Nurture in relation to the case study

The nurture vs nature is an ongoing debate in the field of developmental psychology, in which researchers perform cross-sectional and longitudinal researches to examine the extent of genetical influence and societal environment in shaping the behavior of individuals (Beckett & Taylor, 2016).

Considering the case of Jake and his siblings in the context of nature vs nurture debate, one can ascertain that their physical environment i.e. living conditions and neglected behavior of parent pose a major risk in hindering their proper development. Jake and his siblings may inherit certain biological determinants i.e. nature from their parents, but dysfunctional household i.e. nurture is quite significant in their development.

Jake and Harry face learning difficulty, and research evidence of twin studies on nature vs nurture of learning difficulties suggests that learning difficulties are mostly inherited (Liben, 2007); however, some pieces of evidence suggest that the learning of Children are consequently, the product of an environment provided by the parents.

Task 3

Eric Erickson’s Psychosocial stages

Eric Erickson (1963) presented an influential psychosocial theory in developmental psychology, to narrate the processes to development throughout the life span. Erickson suggested that personality develops during predetermined stages of life span (McLeod, 2018). He suggested eight stages of personality development (Feldman, 2013):

  1. Trust vs. Mistrust (0 – 1½ years)

If the basic needs of infants are met, they develop a sense of trust or unfulfillment, which ultimately results in distrustful behavior. The virtue, during the stage, is Hope (Cherry, 2020).

  1. Autonomy vs. Shame (1½ – 3 years)

Child learns to do activities or tasks own their own, or they can indulge into sense of shame.

  1. Initiative vs. Guilt (3 – 5 years)

Children learn the ability to start an activity and perform their tasks. They develop guilt of underperformance if they fail to resolve the conflict.

  1. Industry vs. Inferiority (5-12 years)

Children learn to finish their tasks successfully and individually or they can cultivate feeling of inferiority.

  1. Identity vs. Role confusion (12-18 years)

Individuals, during adolescences, formulate their self-concept and identify their position in life or they can develop confused attitude regarding their identity.

  1. Intimacy vs. Isolation (18-40 years)

Individuals put efforts to build an intimate and close relationship or they isolate themselves from societal norms, tradition, and relationships.

  1. Generativity vs. Stagnation (40-65 years)

The adults realize and acknowledge their contribution for the betterment of their community, or they can develop feelings that they have no goals or ambitions.

  1. Ego Integrity vs. Despair (above 65-years)

The elderly people may feel a sense of satisfaction with their life’s experience and accomplishments or they may develop a sense of failure and loss.


Erickson’s psychosocial stages and case study of Morgan Family

The psychosocial theory seeks to provide explanation of environmental or social influence in the personality development. As mentioned above, the role of parents or caregivers are significant in developing the child’s personality and imparting different behavioral and emotional aspects in his life. Jake and his siblings needed attention from his mother and father to fulfill his basic needs i.e. primary necessities such as food, water, etc., but also concern and care from parents, which both failed to provide to their children (Gedge & Abell, 2020). The children were neglected by Jane and Mark; hence, they learn to do things on their own, as Harry and Jake were wandering the street without any supervision from parents.


Drawbacks of Erickson’s psychosocial stages

 The psychosocial theory has been criticised by the contemporary developmental psychologists as they opined that the theory does not provide an effective mechanism to resolve the suggested conflicts, and strategies to successfully move from one stage to another. It also fails to pinpoint the types of experiences that are necessary to resolve the conflicts (Cherry, 2020). The personality development researchers question the concepts of changes across various lifespan stage, as they believe personality is not a fruit of continuous changes in individuals, rather it is built on stability. They also point out the limited scientific evidence, of longitudinal and cross-sectional studies on personality development (Gilleard & Higgs, 2016).

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