Psychosocial Stages of Erik Erickson’s

Erik Erikson, a German psychoanalyst who was highly influenced by Sigmund Freud’s work, established the psychosocial developmental stages. Despite the fact that Freud was an id psychologist, Erikson, an ego psychologist, used his quirks in developing the various facets of identity (McLeod).
Erikson’s developmental theory contends that a person evolves at all stages of life, as opposed to Freud’s view that a person’s personality is formed at the age of five. As a result, Erikson argued that the Freudian approach misjudged important aspects of a person’s growth (McLeod).
Trust vs. mistrust
The stage is at times referred to as the infancy stage and takes place from birth to 18 months of age. Erikson conceptualized trust as the significant truthfulness towards others and in one’s self-trustworthiness. The infant learns to trust the nurturing ability of the parents as they offer security, and care through which promotes confidence, and optimism (McLeod). In the same manner, if the child experiences insecurity, and worthlessness at this stage, the infant will develop mistrust towards the rest of the world.
Autonomy vs. Shame
The stage has also been referred to as toddler stage which occurs between 18 months and three years. At this stage, the child develops self-esteem through the self-control. The supportive atmosphere provided by the parents allow the child to learn new skills and gets the opportunity to differentiate between the right and wrong (McLeod). Under circumstances where the parents prevent the child from experiencing independence and self-control by imposing more rules that prevent the child from exploring new skills, the child will fail to develop self-esteem, but rather feel shame which leads to defiance, stubbornness, and temper tantrums due to the low self-esteem.
Initiative vs. Guilt
The stage takes place from the age of 3 years to 5 years and is also known as a preschooler. At this stage, the child tries to get the identity of what kind of a person they would probably become (Sharkey). As a result, the child will demonstrate responsibility by attempting to copy what the adults do and eventually create play situations from what is learned. Furthermore, the child begins to explore the “why” in whatever goes on around them. It is at this stage that the “Oedipal struggle” is experienced where the child identifies with their social role. Erikson posited that the failure for the child to develop responsibility due to the frustrations from natural desires and failure to accomplish goals, the child will develop feelings of guilt (McLeod).
Industry vs. Inferiority
Often, the stage is called Latency and takes place from the age of 6 years to 12 years. At this stage, the child is capable of creating numerous accomplishments, besides learning and developing new skills through the knowledge acquired, hence the sense of industry is developed. Due to the expanding world around the child, the parent ceases to be the only authority, and therefore new relationships are formed within the neighborhood and school. The environment around the individual becomes a source of learning, and thus, the success in forming stable relationships, mastery, and competence contribute to the child’s sense of industry (Sharkey). However, if the child experiences unresolved feelings regarding self-esteem and inadequacy, the stage will result in the child feeling inferior compared to the peers and incompetent in the cases where they perceive themselves as good-for-nothing.
Identity vs. Role Confusion
The fifth stage in development depends on the successful completion of the other four prior stages. The stage, which is considered as adolescence, takes place from the age of 12 years to 18 years. At this stage in development, what the person does determines how they develop within the society. For instance, the adolescent is faced with the struggle in discovering their identity while struggling with social interactions as the individual attempt to negotiate and develop their sense of right and wrong as a way to fit in the moral code of the society. As the adolescent seeks for their true self, they tend to reach climax, even though some try to delay their entrance to adulthood by withdrawing from responsibilities (Sharkey). The successful completion of the stage results in the individual developing a sense of fidelity. When the adolescent fails to be successful at this stage, it results in role confusion where the individual will attempt to experiment different lifestyles, and at times rebellion or negative identity.
Intimacy vs. Isolation
The young adult at this stage is between the age of 18 and 35 years. According to Erikson, an individual at this stage will seek for love and companionship through forming relationships with each other. Some explore the relationships that lead to long-term commitments or settling down with other people other than their family members. The successful completion of the sixth stage results in one forming happy relationships in which they experience care, safety, and commitment besides the virtue of love (Sharkey). The failure of an individual completing the stage contributes to the person being afraid of commitments and relationships. Thus the person will avoid intimacy and will experience loneliness, depression, which will eventually lead to isolation. Therefore, the success of the stage is gauged by one creating significant relationships with friends, and marital partners.
Generativity vs. Stagnation
The seventh stage takes place between the age of 40 and 65 years where the individual experiences middle adulthood. The person at this stage will establish careers, and focus on building families by taking up greater responsibilities. Erikson is the idea that the person at this stage experiences stability in a sense that they will attempt to make a difference in the society. One may accomplish the goal by raising the children and becoming more productive in their work besides involvement in the communal activities. The success experienced at the stage leads to one developing a sense of care (Sharkey). The failure in the person achieving such objectives usually contributes to the person feeling unproductive and becoming stagnant by developing fears, meaninglessness, and inactivity.
Integrity vs. Despair
The final stage involves the person reflecting and evaluating what they have achieved in their life. Since the stage begins from the age of 65 to death, an individual tends to slow down on their productivity rate and therefore can only contemplate on their accomplishments. If the person has led a successful life, the person will develop a sense of wisdom and integrity (Sharkey). When an individual perceives the life to have been unproductive, then the individual feels guilty and dissatisfied which contributes to hopelessness, thus despair.

Works Cited
McLeod, Saul. “Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development”. Simply Psychology, 2017,
Sharkey, Wendy. “Psychology History”. Muskingum.Edu, 2017,

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