Erikson's Theory Of Generativity

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The origins of generativity can be traced to Erik Erikson’s seminal work Childhood and Society (1963). Erikson theorized that as people age, they progress through a series of eight stages, each stage illustrating a particular challenge. Generativity versus stagnation is the seventh stage and is the conflict most commonly associated with midlife. Erikson loosely defined generativity as “the concern in establishing and guiding the next generation”. Generative adults operate from the virtue of care. They strive to ensure the well-being of younger generations through nurturance. On the other hand, other adults operate from self-concern. There are consequences to this choice, according to Erikson, such that adults who express more self-concern…show more content…
For Kotre, generativity was not so much a fixed, developmental stage as an “impulse released at various times” in adulthood. What’s more, the generative impulse to “invest one’s substance in forms of life and work that will outlive the self” can be expressed in multiple ways depending upon one’s life circumstances. Kotre identified four distinct types of generativity: biological, parental, technical, and cultural, and two modes of generativity: agentic and communal. Technical and cultural generativity are particularly interesting distinctions through the lens of agency and communion. Kotre observed that most people combine agentic tendencies to assert, expand, and develop the self with communal tendencies to relate to others through love, care, and intimacy in their generative expressions. Technical generativity emphasizes the transmission of skills that carry personal meaning and extend oneself into community spaces. Cultural generativity extends technical generativity such that special attention is given to creating, renovating, and conserving the meaning behind these skills for the good of…show more content…
Researchers measured three levels of generativity: behavioural, normative, and self-constructed. Behavioural generativity was designed to assess individuals’ expressions of care through the emotional support and unpaid assistance they provide to family members, friends, and others. Normative generativity denoted the sense of commitment participants felt to assist and care for those in need and to civic obligations at work and in the larger community. Self-constructed generativity implied concern for contributing to others, self-perceptions of possessing generative qualities (LGS), and self-perceptions of exemplifying care, wisdom, and knowledge. High levels of psychological well-being were observed in individuals who provided emotional support for several people; felt a civic obligation; expressed generative concern; described themselves as a generative resource; and those who possessed personality traits associated with generativity (Keyes & Ryff, 1998). Consistent with McAdams, de St. Aubin, and Logan (1993), participants of all ages expressed aspects of
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