How Does Levinson's Theory Differ From Erickson's?


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Dan Banks Profile
Dan Banks answered

Both are theories on adult development and how and when people change from one stage of life to another. But the theories differ on when these life stages occur and what confronts and is important to the individual at each stage in their lives.

Erikson's theory divides a persons adult development into eight stages of life. Which are as follows;

  1. Trust Vs Mistrust = Infant

  2. Autonomy Vs Shame and Doubt = Toddler

  3. Initiative Vs Guilt = Preschool

  4. Industry Vs Inferiority = Schoolchild

  5. Identity Vs Role confusion = Adolescent

  6. Intimacy Vs Isolation = Young Adult

  7. Generativity Vs Stagnation = Middle Adult

  8. Integrity Vs Despair = Late adult

Erikson's theory incorporated social and cultural aspects into Freud's biological and sexually oriented theory. The theory frequently refers to a psychosocial crisis within the individual. Each stage encompasses a conflict between the two emotional forces in which the individual tries to achieve a healthy balance between the two.

Whereas Levinson's theory does not place as much significance on conflict but instead the construction and formation of a "dream" within the individuals life, as well as forming mentor relationships, an occupation and forming a love relationship and family. Levinson defined the "dream" as the individuals sense of self in the world and is the core of the life structure. Levinson proposed that from the ages 22 - 28 young adults test a preliminary life structure that is composed of work, love and the ability and will to attain their "dream". The transition into middle adult then occurs between the ages of 28 - 33 years. Then individuals will re - evaluate the life structures that they have formed in this period to determine if they are achieving their "dream".     

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Erik Erikson’s theory consists of eight stages of development: Trust vs. Mistrust – infancy (first year), autonomy vs. Shame and doubt – infancy (1 – 3 years), initiative vs. Guilt – preschool (3 – 5 years), industry vs. Inferiority – elementary school (6 years – puberty), identity vs. Identity confusion – adolescence (10 – 20 years), intimacy vs. Isolation – early adulthood (20’s – 30’s), generativity vs. Stagnation – middle adulthood (40’s – 50’s), and integrity vs. Despair – late adulthood (60’s onward). At each stage, a unique developmental task confronts individuals with a crisis that must be resolved before continuing to the next stage (Santrock, 2009). As you can see, Erikson’s focus on adulthood development was broad. Middle -aged adults can only face generativity vs. Stagnation. Identity is important through middle adulthood, which he does not address.

So, Daniel Levinson expanded on it. Levinson’s theory had four universal stages or eras of development: Pre-adulthood, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood. Each era begins with transition period, lasting about five years. This wraps up the previous era and prepares the person for the next one. Between transitions, people move into stable periods in which they concentrate on building a life structure. The major focus of this theory was midlife change.

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