One of Erikson's major contributions was to extend personality development into adulthood. By expanding Freud's notion of development all the way mto old age, Erikson challenged the idea that psychological development stops with childhood. Erikson's most influential legacy has been his theory of development and hi particular, the stages from adolescence hito old age. He was one of the first theorists to emphasize the critical period of adolescence and the conflicts revolving around one's search for an identity. Adolescents and young adults often ask: Who am I? Where am I gohig? and How am I gohig to get there? How they answer these questions plays a large role in what khids of relationships they develop, who they marry, and what career paths they follow.
In contrast to most other psychodymanic theorists, Erikson stimulated quite a bit of empirical research, much of it on adolescence, young adulthood and adulthood. Some recent studies on adolescence, for example, has included research by Fowler and Dell (2004), Markstrom and Iborra (2003), and Reis and Youniss (2004). We focus, however, on two recent studies of generativity hi midlife, namely life changes and parenthood.
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