Samantha Feeser

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Laura Desportes

Degree Award Date

Spring 2003


Activity Theory, Aging, human development, Erikson's psychodynamic theory, interviews


Comparative Psychology | Human Factors Psychology | Psychology


In recent years there has been a heightened interest in theory of human development. One such theory is "Erikson's psychodynamic theory of human development", which consists of the eight stages of development that span the life cycle. The eighth and final stage of integrity versus despair, which is present in late adulthood, is thought to "involve reflection on the past and either piecing together a positive review or concluding that one's life has been well spent" (Santrock, 2002, pg. 576). Some additional research includes studies of the activity and disengagement from Katz (2000), Kim and Hong (1997), Chang and Dodder (1996); theories of gerotranscendence from Wadensten and Carlsson (2001), Jonson and Magnusson (2001); and the grounded theory fashioned by Price (2000). Through a comparison of qualitative interview information, several themes were uncovered in the analysis and these included evidence of past and present relational involvement, which includes relations within family, religion, and peers. The interviews also included emphasis of past and present activities, providing for others in the past and the present, as well as past and present career involvement, and projects for the future. Overall, in this research we find that through connections between expressing ideas of self worth and dignity in both the past and present, there is evidence of continued activity throughout one's life.