Unit 9 Discussion 1final.docx - Stage 8 of Erik Eriksons theory of psychosocial development is Integrity vs Despair According to Erikson the existential

Unit 9 Discussion 1final.docx - Stage 8 of Erik Eriksons...

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Stage 8 of Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is Integrity vs. Despair. According to Erikson, the existential question during this stage is: Is it okay to have been me? According to Erikson, during this stage in development individuals have more time to explore life’s questions due to being less productive. Erikson suggests that during this time older adults consider their life accomplishments developing feeling of contentment and integrity if they view themselves as having been productive and other the other hand feelings of despair if they view themselves as having been unproductive. Erikson warns that this despair often results in feelings of hopelessness and depression (Crain, 2011). Major components of late adulthood generally include deterioration in physical health as well as cognitive processes (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Primary mental abilities such as associative memory, reasoning, and word fluency typically begin to decline around age 60 and this degeneration can interfere with everyday life ( Hertzog & Schaie, 1988 ). In terms of secondary mental abilities while fluid intelligence such as abstract thinking declines during late adulthood, crystalized intelligence or knowledge gained from experience remains relatively constant ( Horn & Cattell, 1967) . A benefit of late adulthood however is the development of coping skills that make adjustments for limitations in cognitive decline. Many older adults are able to recognize areas in which their cognitive skills are weakening and make necessary accommodations such as making lists to assist with memory (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). The term selective optimism is used to describe how older adults compensate for declines in physical and mental abilities with data pointing out the significance of coping skills which have been developed over the life span as a strong internal support ( Urry & Gross, 2010 ). Individuals in late adulthood often describe an increased feeling of well-being as compared to those in earlier stages of development, and research contributes this increase to improved emotional regulation which is frequently a gain at this stage (Urry & Gross, 2010) . Research demonstrates the importance of social interaction with life satisfaction in late adulthood with individuals who have strong support systems remaining more resilient during adversity (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). There is an individual and cultural component to the notion of support with some individuals and cultures being more likely to discuss their problems and seek comfort and advice while others prefer to simply be in the company of others without sharing what they are going through (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Regardless, research is clear that the positive impact of a strong social support system cannot be denied when it stimulating wellness in late adulthood (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). A major stressor in late adulthood is the loss of loved ones and continuing to build relationships at this stage in life is an essential part of dealing with the loss (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).

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