Psychosocial development in the elderly: An investigation into Erikson's ninth stage

Brown, Cynthia; Lowis, Michael J.
November 2003
Journal of Aging Studies;Nov2003, Vol. 17 Issue 4, p415
Academic Journal
This study investigated Joan Erikson''s suggestion [Erikson, E. H. (1998). The life cycle completed. Extended version with new chapters on the ninth stage by Joan M. Erikson. New York: Norton] that there is a ninth stage to Erik Erikson''s [Erikson, E. H. (1963). Childhood and society (2nd ed.). New York: Norton.] Theory of Psychosocial Development to address the challenges of extreme later life. Questionnaires to measure resolution of Stages 8 and 9, compiled from original descriptions, were completed by 32 women aged in their 80s or 90s, and 32 women aged in their 60s. Results showed there to be a significant correlation between age and resolution of Stage 9 (P=.01), but not for Stage 8, and a significant difference between the mean scores of the two age groups for Stage 9 (P=.03), but not for Stage 8. Recognition that there could be a stage of psycho-social development applicable to people aged in their 80s and 90s, would be a source of comfort to aging individuals themselves, as well as invaluable to friends, relatives, and carers.


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