2Psychosocial TheoryChapter ObjectivesTo define the general concept of theory and explain how one makes use of theory to increase understandingTo define the six basic concepts of psychosocial theoryTo demonstrate how the concepts of psychosocial theory contribute to an analysis of basic processes that foster or inhibit development over the life spanTo evaluate psychosocial theory, pointing out its strengths and weaknesses
3Psychosocial Theory What Is a Theory? A logical system of concepts that helps explain observations and contributes to the development of a body of knowledgeThree questions to askWhich phenomena is the theory trying to explain?What assumptions does the theory make?What does the theory predict?
4Psychosocial TheoryTheories of Human Development Should Provide Explanations to Four QuestionsWhat are the mechanisms that account for growth from conception through old age, and to what extent do these mechanisms vary across the life span?What factors underlie stability and change across the life span?
5Psychosocial TheoryTheories of Human Development Should Provide Explanations to Four Questions (cont.)How do physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functions interact? How do these interactions account for mixtures of thoughts, feelings, health states, and social relationships?How does the social context affect individual development?
6Psychosocial TheoryRationale for Emphasizing Psychosocial TheoryAddresses growth across the life span, identifying and differentiating central issues from infancy to old ageAssumes that individuals have the capacity to contribute to their own psychological developmentTakes into consideration the active contribution of culture to individual growth
7Psychosocial TheoryBasic Concepts of Psychosocial Theory“Psycho” = individual“Social” = societal influencesTherefore, Psychosocial theory represents human development as a product of the interaction between individual needs and abilities and societal expectations and demandsPsychosocial evolution was a term keyed by Julian Huxley and it refers to those abilities that have allowed us to gather knowledge from our ancestors and transmit it to our ascendants
8Psychosocial TheorySix Organizing Concepts of Psychosocial TheoryStages of DevelopmentDevelopmental TasksPsychosocial CrisisThe Central Process For Resolving The Psychosocial CrisisA Radiating Network of Significant RelationshipsCoping Behavior
9Psychosocial TheoryFigure 3.4 The Six Basic Concepts of Psychosocial Theory
10Psychosocial TheoryStages of DevelopmentA period of life that is characterized by a specific underlying structure of each stageErikson proposed 8 stagesEpigenetic Principle - a biological plan for growth allows each function to emerge systematically until the individual has fully developed
11Psychosocial TheoryFigure 3.1 Erikson’s Model of the Psychosocial Stages of Development
12Psychosocial TheoryFigure 3.2 The Eleven Stages of the Life Span
13Psychosocial TheoryDevelopmental TasksA set of skills and competencies that contribute to increased mastery over one’s environment and that define what is healthy, normal development at each age in a particular societySociety has age-graded expectationsSensitive periods: periods of development when an individual is most ready to acquire a new abilityDevelopmental tasks may reflect gains in physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and/or emotional skills and may elaborate upon self-concept
15Psychosocial TheoryPsychosocial CrisesAt each stage individuals are confronted with a problem or crisis that requires the integration of personal needs and skills and social demandsThis crisis is also called a psychosocial ego conflictFrom these conflicts new ego skills are producedThese conflicts do not only occur once in a lifespan, they may reoccur in a different stage, therefore producing new ego skills
16Psychosocial TheoryPsychosocial Crises (cont.)A crisis might have a negative connotation but in this aspect it is considered a normal set of stressors and coping strategiesWhen an individual is trying to resolve a Psychosocial crises he/she is in a state of tensionThe crises are shown as polarities or oppositesBoth polar ends foster development; experience with trust and mistrust lays the ground work for resolution of the psychosocial crises
17Psychosocial TheoryPsychosocial Crises (cont.)Tension, conflict, and resolution are necessary elements for development throughout the lifespan and are a result of cultural pressures and expectations
19Psychosocial TheoryThe Central Processes for Resolving the Psychosocial CrisesSocial System is what Erikson called the demands exerted on a person by all elements that make-up the social worldCentral processes link individual’s needs with the requirements of the culture at each life stageCentral processes for adjusting to or coping with the transitions of development throughout life provide both personal and societal mechanisms for taking in new info. and reorganizing existing information
21Psychosocial TheoryRadius of Significant RelationshipsIn infancy and childhood, individual’s significant relationships are with parentsEventually these relationships extend beyond immediate family to include neighbors, teachers, peers, co-workers, etc.Most demands made upon individuals are associated with relationships the individual considers close or significantIn childhood the circle of relationships is small; over the lifespan the radius of the circle expands; eventually in adulthood the radius condenses to a few significant relationships
22Psychosocial TheoryRadius of Significant Relationships (cont.)An individual’s willingness to engage in an ever-changing network of relationships is part of the epigenetic plan
23Psychosocial TheoryFigure 3.3 The Radius of Significant Relationships
24Psychosocial TheoryCopingConscious, adaptive efforts that people use to manage stressful events or situations, and the emotions associated with these stressorsActively coping and resolving a psychosocial crisis arises in development of a virtue or prime adaptive ego qualitiesThe development of these virtues effect development of future virtues throughout the lifespan
26Psychosocial TheoryCore PathologiesMaladaptive coping with psychosocial crises leads to the development of core pathologiesLike virtues or prime adaptive ego qualities, core pathologies guide individuals behaviorDevelopment of core pathologies restricts further development in life due to the negative emphasis of the world and restriction of future behaviors
28Case Study: Erik Erikson Thought Questions Psychosocial TheoryCase Study: Erik EriksonThought QuestionsWhy did Erikson feel like a ‘stranger in his own culture?”What are the biological, psychological, and societal factors that contributed to Erikson’s identity crises?What factors from childhood appear to be influencing his experiences as an adolescent?Who are the significant figures in Erikson’s life (the radius of significant others who influence his sense of how he should behave and who he should strive to become)?
29Case Study: Erik Erikson (cont.) Thought Questions (cont.) Psychosocial TheoryCase Study: Erik Erikson (cont.)Thought Questions (cont.)What factors might have contributed to Erikson’s ability to cope with the challenges of this period of his life, eventually finding a direction and meaning to which he could commit his talent and energy?Based on Erikson’s account of his childhood and adolescence, how might his life experiences and his cultural context have influenced the nature and focus of his psychosocial theory?