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Integrity Versus Despair

Stage Eight of Psychosocial Development

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Integrity versus despair

Integrity versus despair is the final stage of psychosocial development.

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  • Psychosocial Conflict: Integrity versus despair

  • Major Question: "Did I live a meaningful life?"

  • Basic Virtue: Wisdom

  • Important Event(s): Reflecting back on life

Integrity versus despair is the eighth and final stage of Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. This stage occurs during late adulthood from age 65 through the end of life. During this period of time, people reflect back on the life they have lived and come away with either a sense of fulfillment from a life well lived or a sense of regret and despair over a life misspent.

Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom, even when confronting death. Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom, even when confronting death.

Those who are unsuccessful during this phase will feel that their life has been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual will be left with feelings of bitterness and despair.

Return to The Psychosocial Stages

References

Erikson, E.H. (1968). Identity: Youth and Crisis. New York: Norton.

Erikson, E.H. (1963). Childhood and Society. (2nd ed.). New York: Norton.

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