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Impact Of Death Of A Parent During Childhood On Development

1578 words - 7 pages

The development of personality and identity formation has been greatly influenced by Erikson’s psychosocial theory. Erikson suggested that all humans experience eight major stages of psychosocial development throughout their lifetime (Sigelman & Rider, 2012). Each of these stages has general age ranges and learning tasks that must be completed in order to move to the next developmental stage with successful outcomes. During each stage a conflict occurs; consequently, the successful or unsuccessful resolution of this conflict will result in differences in personality development and will have lasting effects on the remaining stages of development. When a conflict occurs during a ...view middle of the document...

Erikson stressed the significant link between the formation of identity and the ability to develop close and intimate relationships as an adult (Dunkel & Sefcek, 2009). In order to develop a committed and intimate relationship a person must first have a deep understanding of themselves, what they value, and what they want to accomplish during their lifetime.
Erikson’s sixth stage of development, intimacy versus isolation, represents an individual during the ages of 20 to 40 years and is characterized by the ability to share a close and committed relationship with another person, often in the form of romantic relationships (Dunkel & Sefcek, 2009). If there is a successful resolution to the conflict during this stage, ultimately a person will gain the experiences of love and will understand the importance in another human being. This requires an individual to further develop their identity from the prior stage to now include the values, desires, and interests of another person. Therefore, if the conflict is unsuccessfully resolved during this stage, a person can develop feelings of loneliness and isolation resulting in a fear of intimacy (Sigelman & Rider, 2012). Since the span of 20 years occurs throughout this developmental stage, it is clear that it will have a great impact on a person’s life experiences and personal relationships.
Erikson was one of the first to suggest the idea of intimacy as it relates to the individual rather than a quality that exists between a couple in a romantic relationship (Weinberger, Hofstein, & Whitbourne, 2008). There are three important features that Erikson highlighted should exist during the intimacy versus isolation stage and may also serve as an indicator of successful resolution of this conflict. The first feature is the ability to commit to another person and is often characterized as developing a long-term relationship with another individual that requires monogamy and trust. The remaining two features require an individual to possess the capability to communicate their thoughts and feelings, and to share these on a personal and meaningful level (Weinberger, Hofstein, & Whitbourne, 2008). As a result, an individual who successfully resolves the intimacy versus isolation stage would be considered to have strong capabilities in these three areas and would have positive and successful relationships during adulthood.
Intimacy is a natural desire for all humans and could be argued as a fundamental need throughout a person’s lifetime. Alperin (2001) states, “people who have intimate relationships are less likely to develop psychological symptoms, have a lower mortality rate, have fewer accidents, and are at lower risk of developing illnesses”. Research that has been done also indicates that the existence of intimate relationships will promote a healthy and positive lifestyle and a general sense of well-being. Contrastingly, an individual that lacks a clear sense of identity would find difficulties...

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