Application of Social and Emotional Theory
Eric Erickson (1902-1994) was a psychoanalytical theorist who refined the study of personality development across the life stages (School of Arts, Development and Health Education, Massey University, 2012). His psychosocial theory (Newman & Newman, 2007) extended on the work of his mentor, and originating theorist; Sigmund Freud (Berk, 2012). Erickson’s theory divulged that individuals confront both negative and positive social pressures, at each life stage. How they deal with such experiences, and the learning, or lack of, acquired from them, determines how they cope and develop throughout their remaining life stages (Newman & Newman, 2007). Negative experiences not properly managed at any stage, adversely affect individual growth.
Jean’s current situation relates to Erickson’s final psychosocial stage in late adulthood; integrity versus despair. This stage marks a period of self-reflection, and the associated value of one’s life. Integrity is achieved by individuals who are happy and content with their lives. On the contrary; despair and upset, are feelings expressed by those regretful of life choices, and missed opportunities, now too late to pursue. These negative emotions also exacerbate fears of their impending demise (Clairborne & Drewery, 2010; Berk, 2010).
In Jean’s case, moving to a retirement village generated both feelings of despair, and ultimately integrity. She worried about her ability to look after Frank, and who would eventually take care of them both. Furthermore, Jean did not want to burden their children with their care. In fact, these are all too common concerns shared by those in late adulthood (Berk, 2010). The stress of prying Frank away from the farm was another conflict she encountered. Mixed with emotion, Jean also sympathised with her husband; after all, the farm was his life and one they’d both shared.
Retirement village life has produced an opportunity for Jean to attain balance, and a state of integrity. Earlier feelings of despair have been countered by restorative emotions of relief and satisfaction. They both have the support they need to age in a new place, whilst still maintaining their independence. Jean will feel satisfied that their children can enjoy their own lives, without them as an added responsibility. Frank’s depressive state is sure to improve with the activity he participates in making him feel more productive, and in control of his own well-being. Jean can feel assured, that although the move was stressful, it was the right choice to make. Now she can focus on enjoying the rest of her life, with her husband Frank.
It is also important to mention the earlier middle adulthood period and Erickson’s generativity versus stagnation stage. A time where individuals develop a deep sense of care for others or focus more on an opposing self-centred life; stagnation (Clairborne & Drewery, 2010; School of Arts,...