Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 156–161 | Cite as

The Eriksonian Life Story: Developmental Scripts and Psychosocial Adaptation



An individual’s life story may be conceptualized as a developmental script comprising the psychological reconstruction of one’s remembered past, experienced present, and anticipated future. The current study of 128 mid-life adults tested the hypothesis that individuals whose developmental scripts more closely reflected Erikson’s (Childhood and society, 2nd ed. Oxford, England, Norton & Co, 1963) theory of psychosocial development would have higher levels of psychosocial adaptation. Adhering to an Eriksonian developmental script in which early life scenes conveyed a concern with interpersonal trust and adulthood scenes conveyed caring for the future of society (generativity) was related to higher levels of social connectedness above and beyond age, family income, gender, and the Big-Five traits. Examining the extent to which one’s life story approximates a theoretically informed developmental script has the potential to enrich the study of narrative identity.


Narrative-identity Psychosocial adaptation Big-Five Development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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