Personal and Social Identity Research Essay There are many theories which help to understand the various aspects of how a person develops their personal and social sense of self. Two theories of personal development are Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Erik Erikson’s 8 Life Crisis. Abraham Maslow Abraham Maslow was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Abraham Maslow started his theory after finding two mentors in New York, and he began to study them and take notes on their behavior, this began his lifelong research about mental health and human potential which led him to create the concepts of the Hierarchy of Needs.
This hierarchy of needs includes Physiological Needs, Safety Needs, Belongingness and Love Needs, Esteem Needs then Self-Actualization needs. Abraham Maslow made a massive impact on the way society understands human psychology. He was inspired by great minds, and used his brilliant mind to create his own concept of Humanistic Psychology. He conducted his research on the minds of mentally healthy people instead of mentally ill people; this allowed him to discover that all people experience “peak experiences”, high points in an individual’s life where they are in harmony with themselves and their surroundings.
Maslow felt that human beings have certain basic needs that they must meet before they can go on to fulfill other needs. In order to explain his theory, Maslow created a visual aid which he called the Hierarchy of Needs; it is a pyramid diagram depicting the levels of human needs, psychological and physical. At the bottom of the pyramid are the “Psychological Needs” of a human being, food and water and even sex. The next level is “Safety Needs” which are the needs to feel secure, safe and out of danger.
After that, there is the “Belongingness and Love Needs” which is the need to be accepted and belong. Then there is the “Esteem Needs” level, which is the need to achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition. Erik Erikson Erik Erikson was one of the most talented and imaginative of all theorists. Erik Erikson was a Neo-Freudian, which meant he followed Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis. While acknowledging Freud’s genius, Erikson challenged Freud’s notion that the personality is established during the first 6 years of life.
He said that the personality continues to develop over the entire life cycle. Erikson’s chief concern is with psychosocial development, and he formulated eight major stages of development to interpret his research. Each stage poses a unique developmental task and simultaneously confronts individuals with a crisis that they must struggle through. Erikson states that a crisis is a “turning point, a crucial period of increased vulnerability and heightened potential”. According to Erikson, individuals develop a “healthy personality” by mastering “life’s outer and inner dangers. As shown in the table below, every individual is confronted in each of Erikson’s eight stages with a major crisis that must be successfully resolved if healthy development is to occur. The interaction that takes place between an individual and society during each stage can change the course of personality in either a positive or a negative direction. Developmental Stage| Social Setting| Summary| Infancy| Family| Trust vs. Mistrust – Whether children come to trust or mistrust themselves and other people depends on their early experiences.
If a child is cuddled and fondled, the child develops a sense of the world being safe and dependable place. On the other side, if a child’s life is chaotic and unpredictable, the child would approach the world with fear and suspicion. | Early Childhood| Family| Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt – This stage determines if they are able to assert their wills or not. Cooperative and patient parents create a sense of independence and competence. | 4th to 5th Year| Family| Initiative vs. Guilt – When a child is given freedom, the child develops personal initiative.
But when the child is neglected, this forces the child to create a sense of themselves as a nuisance. | 6th Year to Puberty| Neighborhood; School| Industry vs. Inferiority – Children who are rewarded with recognition for their achievements gain a sense of industry. Those who rebuff or ignore children’s efforts are strengthening feelings of inferiority. | Adolescence| Peer groups and out-groups| Identity vs. Role Confusion – Adolescents try many roles as they grope with romantic involvement, vocational choice, and adult statuses, in the process, hey must develop a sense of self, a centered identity. If they fail this, they will become trapped in confusion. | Young Adulthood| Partners in friendship and sex| Intimacy vs. Isolation – Intimacy is the capacity to reach out and make contact with other people, to share with and care about another person. Isolation is the habit of withdrawal and isolation. | Adulthood| New family: work| Generativity vs. Stagnation – Stagnation is a condition where people are preoccupied with their material possessions or physical well-being.
Generativity is basically selflessness and thinking about the welfare of society and future generations. | Old Age| Retirement and impending death| Ego Integrity vs. Despair – This is the stage where the person either feels the sensation of satisfaction of their life, or others reflect on their lives and feel despair. | Maslow’s theory is based on the humanistic theory of personal development, which means that he believes the PRESENT is the most important aspect of a person, the theory is based on reality, and suggests the ultimate goal of life is personal growth.
Erikson’s theory is a psychosocial (emotional) theory and must go through a certain number of stages during their life to reach his or her full development. Maslow’s humanistic theory depends on the climbing of a psychological ladder of human needs, this climb builds a person’s identity thus developing their physical and social self. Erikson’s theory relies on the successfully resolution of each stage in order to reach a healthy, centered identity.
In conclusion, Maslow’s theory differs from Erikson’s theory because it is based on the humanistic theory rather than the psychosocial approach to Human Development. By: Michael Tran Bibliog. Zanden, J. W. V. (1978), Human Development, Fifth Edition, McGraw-Hill, Inc, United States of America. (45-47) Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, <http://www. businessballs. com/maslow. htm> , 14th May 2010 Biography of Maslow A. , http://webspace. ship. edu/cgboer/maslow. html, 15th May 2010.
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