EriksorTs Methods of Investigation

Erikson hisisted that personality is a product of history, culture, and biology; and his diverse methods of investigation reflect this belief. He employed anthropological, historical, sociological, and clinical methods to learn about children, adolescents, mature adults, and elderly people. He studied middle-class Americans, European children, people of the Sioux and Yurok nations of North America, and even sailors

Part II Psychodynamic Theories


Summary of Erikson's Eight Stages of the Life Cycle

Stage 8

Old age 7


Young adulthood 5


School age 3

Play age

Early childhood 1


Psychosexual Mode

Generalization of sensual modes Procreativity

Genitality Puberty


Infantile genital-locomotor Anal-urethral -

muscular Oral-respiratory: sensory-kinesthetic

Psychosocial Crisis

Integrity vs. despair

Basic Strength


Generativity vs. Care stagnation

Intimacy vs.

isolation Identity vs. identity confusion Industry vs.

inferiority Initiative vs. guilt

Autonomy vs.

shame, doubt Basic trust vs. basic mistrust

Love Fidelity

Competence Purpose

Will Hope






Significant Relations

All humanity

Divided labor and shared household Sexual partners, friends

Role repudiation Peer groups

Inertia Inhibition

Compulsion Withdrawal

Neighborhood, school Family


The mothering

SOURCE: From The Life Cycle Completed: A Review by Erik H. Erikson, Copyright ® 1982 by Rikan Enterprises, Ltd. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

on a submarine. He wrote biographical portraits of Adolf Hitler, Maxim Gorky, Martin Luther, and Mohandas K. Gandhi, among others. In this section, we present two approaches Erikson used to explam and describe human personality—anthropological studies and psycholiistory.

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