Study 6: Erikson's Theory

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Erikson: Case Study 6 (pages 21-23)

1. Would Erikson’s theory suggest that Betty’s behavior is internally or externally motivated? What motivates it? Which system of personality is most involved in personality, according to the theory?
a) Erikson’s theory suggests that Betty’s behaviors are externally motivated, that is to say what drives her comes from the outside and beyond her control.
b) In Betty’s case, the motivating factors include her parents when she was a child and her husband as an adult. As a child her parents were overbearing and unsupportive constantly comparing her to her brother.
c) Erikson emphasized the ego over the id, and the attempt to establish one’s ego-identity.

2. What is the crisis experienced in Erikson’s fourth
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inferiority. In this stage, children look to develop a sense of good work and study habits looking for praise and satisfaction. If praise is withheld and instead a child is discouraged by way of scolding or rejection, feelings of inferiority and inadequacy may occur.
b) Unfortunately, Betty has yet to resolve this stage. She continues to have feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt about what to do about staying with her husband. Her entire life, Betty has “settled” for the good of everyone else. Now, at 68, her desire to move forward with her life is in conflict with normal course of action.

3. What is the crisis experienced in Erikson’s fifth stage of psychosocial development? How did Betty resolve this stage? What is the outcome of the crisis? Was it favorable or unfavorable?

a) The crisis experienced in Erikson’s fifth stage, adolescence, is identity cohesion vs. role confusion. The crisis is whether or not a person establishes an individual ego identity where their self-image fully describes them to themselves as well as everyone
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She accepted a marriage proposal out of expected behaviors of her era. With her husband’s constant on the road business schedule, Betty’s feelings of isolation festered.

5. What is the crisis experienced in Erikson’s seventh stage of psychosocial development? How did Betty resolve this stage? What was the outcome of the crisis? Was it favorable or unfavorable?
a) The crisis experienced in Erikson’s seventh stage, middle adulthood, generativity vs. stagnation.
b) As with the prior stages in Betty’s life, this one also basically went unresolved. Lacking a strong ego identity caused her to stagnate with boredom and interpersonal impoverishment. Her marriage never advanced further than what it was on the day she was married.

6. What could be expected in the eighth stage of Betty’s life, according to Erikson’s theory?
a) The crisis experienced in Erikson’s eighth stage, late adulthood, is ego integrity vs. despair. According to Erikson’s theory Betty will most likely look back at her life with despair, fearing death due to having lived what she will probably think of as a meaningless
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