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ASWB Exam Pratice—Erikson’s Stages

Here's a quick practice question to keep you on your toes.

A man brings his 16-year-old son to a therapy appointment to have him assessed for depression. His son has started wearing black and has dyed his blond hair black. The boy denies he's depressed and says that all his friends dress the way he does. According to Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, which crisis is the client experiencing?

A. Industry vs. inferiority.

B. Autonomy vs. shame and doubt.

C. Identity vs. role confusion.

D. Intimacy vs. isolation.

What do you think?

For a question like this, you can strip the stem down to its essentials: a teenager and Erikson. The question could be much simpler and ask the same thing: What is the central conflict for teenagers according to Erikson's stages of psychosocial development?

Either way, it's handy to know the stages. But even if you don't, you might be able to figure it out. Let's walk through the options together: Industry vs. inferiority. Sounds like middle school (it's actually 6-12). Autonomy vs. shame and doubt (sounds like infants or teens…let's leave that one for a second). Identity vs role confusion (sounds very teenage). Intimacy vs. isolation (sounds like the partnering years. 20s, say. And it is-20s-40s).

So, with this, we've narrowed down to autonomy vs. shame and doubt and identity vs. role confusion.

Which one sounds more like a teenager to you?

Think of the teenagers in your life. Think of  yourself as a teenager. Trying to develop a sense of self. Struggling with the question, "What do I want to do with my life?" Sounds like one of the options more than any of the others: C, identity vs. role confusion.

Sometimes "sounds like" is the best you can do on the ASWB exam. And that's fine. You don't need to have the answer immediately at your fingertips for every single question. If you can narrow to two options and take your best guess, that's sometimes the best you can do.

To avoid having the entire exam feel like mysterious guesswork, it's best to get to exposed to lots and lots of practice questions as you prep for the exam. And that's what we've got here (sign up to get started!).

Happy studying, good luck on the exam, and with whatever Eriksonian stage you're grappling with right now!

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