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Benedek, T. (1959). Parenthood as a Developmental Phase—A Contribution to the Libido Theory. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 7:389-417.
  

(1959). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 7:389-417

Parenthood as a Developmental Phase—A Contribution to the Libido Theory

Therese Benedek, M.D.

The libido theory implies that the integration of the sexual drive from its pregenital beginnings to its genital primacy is the process by which the organization of the personality takes place. The impact of physiological changes at puberty sets in motion the adolescent processes of integration which lead toward maturity. Maturity includes, besides the physiological readiness for procreation, the individual's ability to find gratification for his instinctual needs within the frame of his culturally determined realities. This level of maturity in turn initiates motivation for the next phase of development which is parenthood. Since it has been assumed that the individual reaches this goal of personality integration during adolescence, the genetic theory does not include the psychodynamic processes of reproduction and parenthood as drive motivations for further development.

The aim of this presentation is to demonstrate that personality development continues beyond adolescence, under the influence of reproductive physiology and that parenthood utilizes the same primary processes which operate from infancy on in mental growth and development.

I

When birth interrupts intrauterine existence the infant has not yet developed mentally to a degree that he is aware of separation.

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