Understanding of the research is enhanced by an explication of the Eriksonian developmental model and by a brief review of the retirement process in relation to its possible effects on Erikson's psychosocial crisis of old age, namely the crisis of developing ego integrity versus despair. This information is here presented as background information central to the research problem.
Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Model of Development
Developmental theory holds that throughout one's life, the ego (sense of self) changes in response to several psychosocial forces (Sue, Sue & Sue, 1994). One of the most comprehensive models of the challenges and changes associated with ego development throughout the lifespan was constructed by Erik Erikson (1950, 1963, 1968, 1973, 1985).
Since this model served as the conceptual foundation of this study, it is helpful to delineate it. In general, Erikson's psychosocial development model traces personality development across the life span emphasizing societal and cultural influences on the ego at each of eight states.
Each stage involves a turning point or crisis in personality related to a specific major conflict. This conflict is particularly critical at this time of life, although it can, to some degree, remain an issue throughout life.
Successful resolution of each of the eight crises requires re