Behavior across the Lifespan

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Behavior across the Lifespan





Behavior across the Lifespan

Part A

Dr. Erikson published his psychological development work in 1950. His efforts proved monumental in the development of human understanding on the different stages of human development from infant to adult. Erikson identified these stages of life and gave a description of the life parts a person is required to navigate, and possibly master to become a well-adjusted and successful adult in the course of his or her lifetime.

Erikson’s theory ventures into the aspect of trust vs. mistrust and is crucial particularly for infants. This part of the theory allows us to understand that the parent is responsible for meeting the needs of the child (Cross, 2002). This aspect of the theory can be exemplified by the William character from the Olivia cartoon. The audience witnesses the whim role William plays before his sister and brother, and often needs his parent’s rescue from the wild schemes of his sisters. However, he fortunately manages to navigate through these schemes and learns how to put his trust on his parents.

The second part of Erickson’s theory involves Shame and doubt vs. autonomy. This part of the theory can be exemplified through the premise of achieving things through one’s effort or depending on others. The novel “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time” bears the character with Asperger’s Syndrome referred to as Christopher comes to mind. This condition creates a frightening and unfamiliar part of the outside world to him. Though he should not be doing so, Mark is apt to strolling across city streets by himself and at one time gets agitated when his arm is grabbed by a police officer. Christopher is not used to this treatment and is not capable of understanding the appropriate way to interact. He serves as a perfect example of someone who struggles over his actions and needs help from others.

Erikson’s theory also deals with guilt vs. initiative. This part of the theory may be thought through a personal question whether one is good or bad (Munley, 2005). The character of Barthlomew Simpson in the “The Simpsons” series is an excellent example. Bart is ten years old and has a tendency to engage in uncouth behavior. This may appear as an irreproachable character personality for viewers of the younger age bracket. Bart normally appears as the agitator and receives continuous support from his family. Additionally, he keeps on learning new lessons through his mother’s example by appreciating the family unit.

The other part of Erikson’s theory revolves around inferiority vs. industry (Munley, 2005). This part of the theory explains the aspect behind the question whether one is successful or worthless. The character Alex Keaton from “Family Ties” serves as a good example. Alex was born to a couple with a past filled adventure or hype. However, Alex does not take from his parents and is more focused and driven. He is obsessed with achieving his set goals and ambitions. In a certain episode, for example, turns to taking stimulants to help him achieve his course. Of course, his parents later find out about his behavior. It is quite ironic from the way they talk because they used narcotics when they were younger.

The next stage of Erikson’s theory includes the aspect of stagnation vs. generativity and includes the question of whether one is capable of producing something of real value. This part of the theory is best brought out by the character Cameron from “Modern Family”. Primarily, Cameron is a homosexual who commits himself to a relationship. He and his relationship partner resolve to engage in child adoption to live a seemingly normal couple life. Consequently, Cameron grows to love their adopted child and feels he should contribute something of value to his family.

Regarding the six stages presented by Erikson, I feel that he did engage the female gender to a significant extent, as many of his examples do not include females and their depiction on various life stages. Primarily, his theory paints a picture of adults being easily confused and overwhelmed (Munley, 2005).


Cross, T. L. (2002). Gifted Children and Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development. Gifted Child Today, 24, 1, 54.

Munley, P. H. (2005). Erik Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development and Vocational Behavior. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 22, 4, 314-319.

Jenkins, S., Buboltz, W., Schwartz, J., & Johnson, P. (2005). Differentiation of self and psychosocial development. Contemporary Family Therapy, 27, 2, 251-261.

Part B, 1

            David Kiersey’s Temperament theory is one that provides a satisfactory explanation on an individual’s personality development. Primarily, this theory maintains that an individual’s personality development starts at childhood. One way this theory best explains the aspect of personality development involves temperament levels influences how a child grows and matures (Zupancic, 2008). This theory applies as a model of explanation for individual personality on a universal scale. It maintains that each personality has a unique way of motivation, relating with others, being satisfied, and learning (Zupancic, 2008).

2. One disorder highlighted in terms of personality revolves around mood. Mood disorders occur in vast ranges (Kellermann, 2006). They include fears, phobias, anxiety, and depression. They are mostly treated through psychotic drugs and anti-depressants. According to the DSM-IV, symptoms include suicidal thoughts, crying, mood swings, and euphoria among others (Kellermann, 2006). Ultimately, the behaviors associated with mood swings differ from other normally considered behaviors in the American culture. In this case, a normal person is considered to have an upright personality and is appreciative of what life has to offer.


Christensen, K. R. (2004). The politics of character development: A Marxist reappraisal of the moral life.

Kellermann, P. (2006). Personal development and social change. The School Field, 7, 27-32.

Zupancic, M. (2008). Recent developments in child personality research. Psihološka Obzorja, 17.)


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