Psychosocial development theory was developed by Erikson and it is the best theory in psychology. He believed that personality progresses are a continuous series of stages. His theory also believes in the influence of social experience across the lifetime. Ego identity is one of Erikson’s main elements in psychosocial theory. This is the self-conscious that we develop through the daily social interaction. Everyday’s experiences and information in life cause major changes. Erikson also believed that the need for competition motivated behavior and actions in human being. This need for competence builds the ego quality or ego strength. If these stages are not properly handled, the result will be a sense of inadequacy. Erikson described fully the different stages in the psychosocial development expounding on what transpires in each. Researchers have accepted his theory and it has been globally applied both by scholars and researchers.
Psychosocial development holds that the different conflicts people meet in life serve as major turning points. During these conflicts, there can be success or failure in the human life. The first stage in this theory is observed between birth and when the child is one year. This time the child is fully dependant and it fully trusts the caregivers. If they are not consistent or caring, the child will develop mistrust. During early childhood, the concept of independence vs. shame and doubt is developed. This is when the child starts developing self-control. During pre-school, the child develops guilt and shame. By the time they are eleven years, the conflict of whether they are industrious or suffer an inferiority complex arises. In adolescence, there is identity vs. confusion. In early adulthood, they are discovering relationships as they fight intimacy vs. isolation. In this stage they develop relationships which are loyal and secure. For adulthood, there is generativity vs. stagnation. During adulthood, the successful ones feel that they are contributing to the world while the others who fail to attain this tend to feel unproductive. Lastly there is old age where Maria lies and this is a stage of integrity vs. despair and the need to focus on her. At this age, people reflect back on their past and for the unsuccessful ones, they feel wasted and live in regrets. The successful ones will feel satisfied and fulfilled, carrying wisdom even on their death beds. Maria is a true case study of psychosocial development and her story applies in many of the old families today. Her life has been well expressed showing the different levels of psychosocial levels that she lived before getting to be aged.
Maria is a sixty eight years old woman who feels that she has had a successful life in her business. This is a place she enjoyed interacting with the world although with age, she could not handle all the physical demands. Unfortunately she felt worthless when she lost her husband of forty seven years. After the loss, she had to sell her business and move near her two daughters’ residence in order for them to take care of her. She often got depressed on her husband’s anniversary. Her life in a town different from her urban life was different. Living around small children was also too much for her.
Maria’s psychological crisis
Due to her age, Maria had all reasons to be psychologically disturbed. She had struggled with life having been employed to work for other people to starting her own business. First there was the death of her husband that left her devastated. They had lived a life together for forty seven years which is a long time. They were old and had been used to sharing a life together since their two children were full grown adults with families of their own. That is why she continued suffering during his husband’s anniversary. Secondly, there was the stress of being around the young children. Her two daughters had their homes with children of their own. Lisa who turned fifty was a single mother of two. These were twins aged four. Toni who is in the mid forties is married with one child who is aged five. During their visit, Maria felt they were stressing her because they were playful and she did not have the strength. She also complained of them making her tired. The other crisis was because Maria’s daughter Lisa survives on painkillers due to an injury she got while working. Maria feels sorry for her because she has to keep yelling at her hyperactive children who at times yell back at her. This makes Lisa ask for her mother’s help with the children. Lastly, there is the problem with Maria’s knee which was underwent a replacement and she has to go for therapies. She has the pain killers that are also stressing her since she has been watching her daughter Lisa swallow them. Maria’s memory seems to be fading because of the many times she counter checks if she has closed her bedroom door or the garage.
As much as Maria felt the security around her children, she felt dependant on them and this must have been stressing her further. Toni was the younger one and yet she was paying for Maria’s medical bill. Having worked for over thirty years, Maria must have felt helpless and worthless because she could not meet her bills. This means she could not afford health insurance at her age. Psychosocial development is well reflected here for a person who is looking back at her past and getting devastated. She has nothing to show and only lives in regrets.
The fact that Maria is old, and she is nearing the grave gives reason to cause psychosocial crisis. The fact there is not something to look forward to because the days get shortened is depressing. Every day she wakes up, she sees death nearer to her. Having closed her business, she is idle and that means the brain becomes a devil’s workshop. She is a lonely woman too who had an interactive past, but now she only sits in the house. Maria is no longer productive and her worthiness is no longer felt inside her.
Challenges and areas of strength that you see as significant related to wellness and resiliency, both within communities and cultural groups
There are several challenges in the community that contribute to psychosocial development. The society has lacked respect for the old and this makes them more frustrated. The aged might need general assistance from the society like crossing the road but no one seems to care. The society has also been quick in judging others. This type of judgment affects the aged especially when they are assumed redundant. When the aged give advice to the younger generation, they are ignored and called old. There is also the problem of neglecting. The community tends to neglect their old to the point of taking them to homes for the aged. This is also a depressor to the aged people.
In big towns, these old people have problem in moving from one place to another. This holds them inside their homes. Due to their age, their communication is slow and hence they miss out on many things because the society has no patience with them. Due to globalization, the community is on a fast lane and the old cannot seem to catch up. Technology has been applied everywhere in the society including the use of mobile phones, computers, satellites and nobody has thought of a way of inducting the old people into them. The aged are also defenseless when it comes to muggers in the towns. The society has refused to award them with their due respect and you will find them being mugged like any other person. The old populace has also been left out in decision-making in decisions that mostly affect their lives and it is unfair to them.
Being old is a relative word because it is the culture that decides what age is old. Sometimes the wealthier older people may be termed as old at the age of eighty five because their wealth has made them look young. The average person like Maria maybe termed as old at the age of sixty five. This decision by the society affects these old people since no one wants to be termed or treated as old. It creates a psychological torture to this elderly person. The issue of power has also been a problem because the societies has favored the powerful people, and rarely see their ages. As long as they are powerful, they will be allowed to make decisions regarding the society. This is discriminating to the less powerful people since they feel sidelined. All these can be termed as unwarranted generalizations that have a negative impact on the aged.
However, there are some strength within the community and cultural groups. First, there are some youth groups that dedicate their free time to visit and take care of the old. This is positive energy and is usually practiced by some cultures. There is also the church community that dedicates time for the old. Not everyone forgets their aged because there are communities that have built recreation areas for the old. This is where they interact and exchange their life stories. Nevertheless, the old homes cannot be left out since they are able to take care for the old. There are organizations that have opened defense classes for the old. This is since there have been cases of them being attacked and raped.
Community aged packages have also helped the old people to remain living in their homes. Hospitals and other institutions have also opened in-service training and also continuing education to the elderly on health care (Chou Hoffman 2012). Here they are taught on how to take excellent care of themselves even at old age. They are also advised on the proper diet needed by the older generation. The nurses taking care of the aged have also been oriented on special training on how to handle the old. They are often assessed to keep them up to standard hence maintaining and monitoring their performance. HelpAge International is a global organization that helps in taking care of the old.
Health care has made the life expectancy for older people longer. Cancer and other health related diseases have been killing the old people, but the community has worked hard in implementing medical care to them. The insurance cover has catered for this package, and although Maria had saved for this, other able people have done it. The society has campaigned for affordable packages for the aged. National Service framework (NSF) is a body that was created to take care for the old. It is based on clinical need and not the age factor for the old based on fundamental principles. It has helped in promoting the health standards for the old people. Falls have been of major concern in old people and the society has carried out research on their causes. These researches show that the community care for the old since they would like to get a solution to this problem. These can be considered as strengths within the community relating to old people.
How culture has influenced Maria
Maria being a Scottish and American born, it shows that she came from a background that was rich in culture. These are people who held on to their traditions despite globalization. Maria would have been suffering culture shock from seeing her children’s lifestyles. Her daughter Lisa was single and culture believed in marriage. Single mothers were seen as outcasts and sometimes immoral especially where the husband was not reported dead. This means Maria would not understand what lifestyle the daughter had taken. Maria had lived in a small rural town where people were friendly and interactive. This does not happen in bigger towns because everyone is busy attending to their daily chores. Also being from a minority group, she must have been suffering from discrimination (Chou Hoffman 2012).
Culture did not also allow for mothers to go and live with their daughters. Once the daughters were grown, they would move from their parent’s homes to get married and would only visit their mothers. However, due to the death of her husband, Maria had to relocate to the town where her daughters lived. They were to take care for her too which was not expected of daughters. Toni is the one who paying for her mother’s bill which was not a cultural norm. Lisa’s twins were shouting back at her showing disrespect for their mother which again was not right. A child should not yell at their parents. These are some of the cultures that affected Maria.
As people age, the brains become slow. They lack the vibrant energy they had, and their productivity equally slows down. This is the time when people look back at the accomplishments they have had in life. For the successful ones, they feel their worthiness and the integrity that comes with it. On the other hand, if the individual feels that they were unproductive, they feel worthless and ashamed of their past. They feel that they did not accomplish their duties in life and age dissatisfied with a raging disparity. This mostly leads to depression and miserable. There is also the issue of how other people view others. Maria being the rural woman who was aging in the urban region had to suffer because of the fast life in the towns. She had to adapt to the new lifestyle at her old age, living with a society that did not care for the old. This only added to her psychosocial development crisis. However she did not have a choice since she needed that protection from her daughters. Fortunately different bodies have come up and they are willing to assist this neglected age group.
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Chou, T. & Hofmann, S. (2012). Perception of racial discrimination & psychopathology across three U.S. ethnic minority groups Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 18(1), 74-81
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Gurney, B., Randle, A., Granger, C., & Fletcher, J. (2010). ‘In time & in tune’ — the fostering attachments group Adoption & Fostering, 34(4), 50-60
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