Erick Erickson’s theory is widely known for psycho-social development in field of developmental psychology. Erick Erickson’s theory describes 8 stages of human development with respect to social interactions. It describes entire life of human being by diving in 8 stages and thereby touching life at various epochs from infancy to death. Theory describes how a person should evolve ideally and thus it also reflects on 8 stages of psychosocial developmental conflicts also. Erick Erickson’s theory is available to us as benchmark to comprehend and evaluate one’s maturity and psycho-social evolution as a human. It gives brief idea about parameters of development which should occur at infancy, early childhood, preschool, school age, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, late adulthood/Maturity.
Erickson described stages as conflicts which commonly exist in human life at various stages and if one emerge from the conflict with psycho-social strength that serves him well further in life. And if stage is not dealt effectively then a person may not be able to develop essential skill needed for strong sense of self and that does not allow optimal level of functioning.
Stage: 1 – Trust Vs Mistrust
It is fundamental stage as it exists from infancy to 1 year of age. Child is totally dependent on caregiver at this stage for survival. When child’s need is fulfilled and is being taken care , it helps a child to develop bond of trust with adults. But if care givers are inconsistent , emotionally unavailable or neglecting , it contributes to develop mistrust in child. When child develops bond of trust, it helps a child to develop trust with people around when he turns an adult. But when this essential skill is not developed, person struggles to develop trust. Essentially it is not about 100% trust or mistrust but it about balance of both and openness of experience to the world in adulthood.
Stage-2 – Autonomy Vs Shame & Doubt
This stage is about early childhood. Gradually child tries to become independent and learns to make and execute choices about food, clothes, toys etc. When children are promoted to execute choices they develop a sense of confidence and self belief / Autonomy. But if they are too much controlled and not allowed to have their choices, they turn in to individual with sense of inadequacy and self doubt. Striking balance between autonomy, confidence, doubt and shame will make him able to operate with reasons and limits.
Stage -3- Initiative Vs Guilt
This stage is marked by Preschool age. Child learns to interact socially by directly his play and interactions. Children who are successful at this age is able to lead others and those who cannot develop this skill have self doubt and lack initiative.
Stage -4- Industry Vs Inferiority
This is marked early school years. Children learn to accomplish their tasks at this stage and they like to take pride for doing it. Doing it by self gives them sense of accomplishment of doing it on own, when that is appreciated by teachers and caregivers they develop competence and when they are no encouraged they feel develop inferiority complex. Striking balance can help them feeling competent.
Stage -5- Identity Vs Confusion
This stage is around teenage period. Child acquires sense of independent existence. Child performs to develop his own individual existence. Here personal identity and belief system is formed which continues to play role in behaviour and development in rest of the life. Those who receive positive reinforcement will get strong sense of self, feeling of independence and control. Those do not receive positive reinforcement ends up with lack of self belief and insecurity.
Stage -6- Intimacy Vs Isolation
This is stage of early adulthood. This stage is marked by personal relationships and intimacy. It is about close, committed relationships. Those who are successful at this stage will develop strong, committed, secure and enduring relationship. Those who fail to develop enough skill in previous stages , faces limitation in developing skills in later stages too. One who cannot develop sense of personal identity also faces difficulty in finding security in personal relations and endurance is challenging and are less committed. They usually tend to face loneliness and emotional isolation.
Stage -7- Generativity Vs Stagnation
This is marked adulthood where one develops career and family. Those can successfully establish family life and career develop a sense of contentment for being able to contribute being active in community. Those who fail will feel unproductive. Seeing family grown and developing sense of unity with life partner gives a feeling of accomplishment. Again this is achieved when skills from previous stages are developed.
Stage-8- Integrity Vs Despair
This is stage of old age and what one feels in this stage depends on what one has done in whole life, it is reflection on one’s own life to determine whether they are happy with life or not. Those who are not happy with what they did or didn’t do ends up with despair and regrets. Those who are happy develop sense of integrity. At the end they feel their significant contribution to family & community.
Application of Erick Erickson’s Theory in movie 102 Not out:
In a Movie character of Mr Amitabh Bachchan who is 102 years old man- living life in true sense with happiness and full contentment. That character falls in stage 8- Integrity Vs Despair. He does not have any despair or regrets with his life. He lives completely in present moment and with enthusiasm. He is shown to have matured emotional bonds with people in community which is sensed by the bond which he shares with Medicine delivery boy named ‘Dhiru ’. This shows efficient skill in developing and maintaining relations.
He is shown to be living with his 72 years son who is almost opposite to him in concept of life. And that character is of Mr Rishi Kapoor. There is certain level of discontent and despair about his son not taking care of him and staying abroad. He is shown least interested in life as far as living is concerned. At a certain level obsession about things to be done in specific ways otherwise it may lead to mishap or illness. This is a marker of insecurity. That indicates faulty skill development in psycho-social stages. Inability to come out of the conflicting situation with his own son and having impact on quality of life shows unresolved psycho-social stages.
When Mr Bachchan comes to know about him having a brain tumor, he decides to teach 72 years son “how to live life fullest”. He also makes him self reliant and develops self belief in him to execute his decisions confidently to teach life lessons to his son who stays abroad. Those lessons taught to him, helped him to turn despair of stage 8 in to Integrity.
Portray of Mr Bachchan’s Character is perfect example of optimal skill set development in all stage of psycho-social development. This conclusion can be reached because when stage 8 is lived with integrity – it indicates all previous stages are resolved optimally and required skill set to live life are learned well. And practical demonstration of ability to successfully teach 72 years old son a life lesson represents excellent resolutions at each stages of life. Inspite of being aware from suffering life threatening illness – his willingness to pass message of life to his son and teaching him how to live life shows epitome of evolved and matured mind.
Movie is treat of life lessons and Mr Bachchan’s character is apt example of positive mental health.