ERIC Number: ED415473
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Revisiting Erikson's Views on Women's Generativity, or Erikson Didn't Understand Midlife Women.
Edelstein, Linda N.
The past 15 years have brought a re-evaluation of women's adult development in light feminist thinking. However, many outdated assumptions in psychological theory remain comfortably ensconced; to challenge these ideas, some misrepresentations of women's experience are examined. The focus is on Erik Erikson's explanation of the second stage of adulthood: Generativity vs. Stagnation. Although feminist writers have been relatively kind regarding Erikson's views, his notion of a singular psychosocial crisis in middle adulthood may be more relevant for men than for women. Some alternative views of middle adulthood are examined, such as Carl Jung's ideas regarding adulthood. Ways in which to blend the masculine and the feminine are explored and some of the tasks of middle adulthood are described, followed by a challenge to Erikson's view that women in middle adulthood primarily "care" for others. It is suggested that such stage theories may not adequately explain women's adult development and that the masculine identity path does not properly describe women's experiences. Also, in women's lives, generativity occurs earlier than previously hypothesized, runs concurrently with other psychosocial tasks, and diminishes during middle adulthood. Contains 38 references. (RJM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Erikson (Erik); Feminist Scholarship; Generativity
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (105th, Chicago, IL, August 15-19, 1997).