The Eriksonian life story: Developmental scripts and psychosocial adaptation

Joshua Wilt*, Keith S. Cox, Dan P. McAdams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-161
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adult Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010


  • Big-Five
  • Development
  • Narrative-identity
  • Psychosocial adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'The Eriksonian life story: Developmental scripts and psychosocial adaptation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this