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Compare And Contrast of Erikson’s And Levinson’s Theories

Compare and contrast Erikson’s and Levinson’s theories of development during midlife and summarize the findings and conclusions of at least two research studies examining Erikson’s and Levinson’s theories.



Different developmental stages occur in human life, behaviour of humankind changes according to their ages. Changes occur in their body structure, external and internal development as well as their thoughts. Erik Erikson and Daniel Levinson describe various human developmental stages in their individual developmental theories. This study says the comparison between the above mentioned theories. It is important for the humans to identify the requirement of development in their lives. Any transitions in the life cycles are necessary to figure out whether any development is caused or not and it can bring positive impact in the lives of the individuals or not. Several theorists have highlighted the developmental stages of lives and the reformation that takes place. Scenario of Jeff is taken as an instance for understanding the scenes properly.


Erikson theory-

Intimacy vs. Isolation

As per Erikson development theory, it contains a stage of Intimacy vs. Isolation. This particular stage is mainly concerned with those people, who are belonging to early adulthood (20-40 years). As commented by Berk (2017), in this particular stage the person has developed the sense of self in adolescence and thus, they are ready to share their lives with others. As per the case scenario, it has been analysed that, Jeff was a very busy person and he could not give time to his family. Therefore,  his mental as well as physical fitness get damaged and he becomes fatigue and over-weighted as well as suffer from type 2 diabetes. As he become fatigue he would become panic in society and workplace, thus he can suffers in high blood pressure.His mental condition also get weak therefore he suffers in different diseases.

Generativity vs. Self absorption or Stagnation-

As per Erikson development theory, it contains a stage of Generativity vs. Self absorption.This stage is mainly concerned with those people, who are belonging to Middle aged adulthood (35-65 years). In accordance to Cherry (2017), this is the only stage of taking responsibility of family, work and to focus about to achieve a better living life. In addition to this, it has also been evidenced that at this stage, the person has found their lives work and contribute to the actual development of next generation through various activities like, mentoring, volunteering and raising children (Arnett, 2015). As per the case scenario, it has been evidenced that, jeff is very busy in his duty work as well as he has the responsibility to care of his family.

It  has been evidenced that Jeff is unable to give much time to his family. However, he manages to raise his children in a proper way with good values. This provides a great contribution towards developing a good society. Duties as well as taking care of his family members both are very much necessary as a good human being. It is the stage of ignoring such unwanted things or environment which destruct jeff’s career and stay rigid in his every decision. It is the core responsibility of the individuals to maintain a proper balance in between work life and personal life. Without such balance, it will become problematic to deal with the problems of the life. Apart from this, responsibility lies completely in the shoulder of the person for proper management of every activity for a better life ahead.

Integrity vs. Despair -As per Erikson development theory, it contains a stage of Integrity and Despair. This stage is mainly concerned with those people, who are belonging to late adulthood (55years-death),as mentioned by McLean et al. (2016), in this particular stage people who are successful throughout their career may pleased and get a peaceful end life and people not successful at this stage may feel as if their life has been wasted. People can think about the memories they left back, they face with bitterness and depression and despair. As per this case scenario, although jeff is very busy doing is office work and could not able to give sufficient time to his family however he will not regret himself as he is a well mannered person.

Daniel Levinson theory-

Age 30 transitions (28-33 years)- As per Daniel Levinson developmental theory the Age 30 transition changes occurs in life structure and a moderate or severe crisis in human life can occur. In this stage every human being has to compromise the crisis and look forward. In this case scenario it has been evidenced that Jeff is a very busy doing his office work as he is a CEO of a midsize company, even he is not able to give time to his family, although his love and cares always with his family.

Settling down (33-40 years) - According to Levinson developmental theory the Settling down stage is the stage where both family and career accomplishment is mandatory (Bosch et al. 2016). In this case study it is identified that Jeff’s career, work and passion towards his company is very much useful, as he is married, jeff also cares to his two children and his wife.So his love, cares and bright career always tells his identity.

Mid-life transition (40-45years) - According to Levinson developmental theory Midlife transition stage is the stage where changes occur in life structure (Dannefer, 2014). In this transition period described human being as their talent, desire and aspiration. According to the given case scenario it is analysed that jeff did lots of hard work and has higher aspiration towards his role  that is why, he become  a CEO of a company. In life, it is obvious that failures will create obstacles. Nevertheless, there needs to be strong determination towards delivering the work in a profound manner. This aspiration made Jeff achieve success in such form, which is really a matter of appraisal.

Entering middle adulthood (45-50 years) -Sanford (2017) has commented that according to the developmental theory of Levinson every mankind at this age gaps feels about past experiences. People can think about the memories they left back, some may be good or bad. In the opinion of Perelman & Pittman (2018), Successful persons feel happy at that point of their life; some may be disappointed who remains unsuccessful in their life. According to this case scenario the person Jeff is very much successful in his career, his love for his family is endless, all along is a good human being, and therefore he might be pleased with his experiences throughout his life. Most importantly, it is necessary to the challenge in life for ensuring an enlightened career as well as life cycle.


Human development is the changes occurring throughout the life. The changes may be physical, social, psychosocial and many others. Two theories are associated with human development namely, Erikson developmental theory and Daniel Levinson developmental theory. From the above study, it can be concluded that in Erikson developmental theory stages are intimacy and isolation, Generativity vs. Self absorption or Stagnation, Integrity vs. Despair; Whereas, in Levinson developmental theory stages are-Age 30 transition (28-33 years), Settling down (33-40 years), Mid-life transition (40-45years), Entering middle adulthood (45-50 years). Human nature changes with changes in their ages as well as body structure, sociological behaviour and psychosocial behaviour. The example of Jeff’s story is an important aspect that is highlighted in the work. It is necessary for every individual to show concern towards developmental stages. This will be assisting in delivering high quality to their individual career.


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