Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development

think about what you know about the Holocaust. If you do not know very much about the Holocaust during World War II, you should read up on it before continuing the assignment. The Nazis killed an estimated 15 – 20 million people during the Holocaust in what was termed the final solution. The goal of the Nazis was to rid the world of people who were, in the minds of the Nazis, undesirable. This included Jews, Catholics, Gypsies, various minorities, people with disabilities, etc. Many people sent to the concentration camps were killed upon arrival. Many others were forced into hard labor, where they worked until they died. Some people were forced to participate in cruel experiments.

Think about what you would predict for the life of someone who had to live through such atrocities. How might a Holocaust survivor experienced life in terms of Erikson’s stages? What sort of crisis resolution would you predict for someone who had been surrounded by this horrible setting? What sort of crisis resolution might you predict for someone who had been separated from their families? What sort of crisis resolution would you predict for someone who had seen loved ones, friends, and people they were interred with at the camps die? Think about this and write your prediction down.

STEP 3: Next, read the article “Erikson’s Healthy Personality, Societal Institutions, and Holocaust Survivors” by R. R. Greene, S. A. Graham, and C. Morano (Published in 2010 in Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 20: 489-506.) You can access this through your campus library.

STEP 4: Your assignment is to write a reflection paper (500-800 words) that discusses your thoughts on the Erikson research paper. Your reflection paper is meant to be introspective and thoughtful. You should take into account everything that you have learned about Erikson’s theory as you have moved through this class, the research article, and your educated opinion on the topic.

First you should summarize and describe the study in a few sentences in your own words.
Identify and describe the basic assumption of the researchers.
Why were they conducting this research?
How was the study performed? What methods were used?
Second, discuss your original prediction about the outcomes you expected from Step 2.
It is OK if the prediction was wrong. Whatever your prediction was, discuss why you made that prediction.
Third, think about what the Holocaust survivors went through as discussed in the article, and the Eriksonian stage they were in when they went through that.
How do you think that the stage and age played a role in their immediate outcome?
How do you think that the stage and age played a role in their long-term outcome? As you answer this question, think about Erikson’s epigenetic principle. While Erikson’s theory is a stage theory, it is a little different than other stage theories in that Erikson believed that all of the stages are active all of the time, but that at certain ages a specific crisis is being worked on more than the others—that crisis is the focus at that age, but some work is still happening on the other crises at the same time. In this way, then, even if you had a poor resolution early in life, there is still work being done on that stage throughout your lifespan, and this could allow a successful resolution to that stage later in life.
How do you feel about the outcomes you read about? Are you surprised with the finding of this study? Why or why not?

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