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Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development [Updated 2023]

Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development Theory is one of the best-known theories of personality in psychology. Much like Sigmund Freud, Erikson believed that personality develops in a series of stages. Unlike Freud’s theory of psycho-sexual stages, Erikson’s theory describes the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan.

What is Psychosocial Development - One of the main elements of Erikson’s stages psychosocial development theory of ego identity.

1 Ego identity is the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction. According to Erikson, our ego identity is constantly changing due to new experience and information we acquire in our daily interactions with others. 
In addition to ego identity, Erikson also believed that a sense of competence also motivates behaviors and actions. Each stage in Erikson’s theory is concerned with becoming competent in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of mastery, which he sometimes referred to as ego strength or ego quality.

2 Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development - If the stage is managed poorly, the person will emerge with a sense of inadequacy.

Psychosocial Development Theory - In each stage, Erikson believed people experience a conflict that serves as a turning point in development. In Erikson’s view, these conflicts are centered on either developing a psychological quality or failing to develop that quality.

Psychosocial Development - During these times, the potential for personal growth is high, but so is the potential for failure.

Psychosocial Development Stages or Erik Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development

Stage 1 Trust vs Mistrust - Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

Psychosocial Development in Infancy - Trust vs Mistrust - The first stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development occurs between birth to one year of age and is the most fundamental stage in life.
Psychosocial Development for Toddlers - Because an infant is utterly dependent, the development of trust is based on the dependability and quality of the child’s caregivers.
Psychosocial Development of Infants - If a child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and secure in the world. 
Psychosocial Development in Infants - Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or rejecting contribute to feelings of mistrust in the children they care for. Failure to develop trust will result in fear and a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable.

Stage 2 Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt - Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

The second stage of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development takes place during 1 to 3 year early childhood and is focused on children developing a greater sense of personal control.
Like Freud, Erikson believed that toilet training was a vital part of this process. However, Erikson's reasoning was quite different than that of Freud's. Erikson believe that learning to control one’s body functions leads to a feeling of control and a sense of independence.

Other important events include gaining more control over food choices, toy preferences, and clothing selection. Children who successfully complete this stage feel secure and confident, while those who do not are left with a sense of inadequacy and self-doubt.

Stage 3 Initiative vs Guilt - Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

During the preschool 3 to 5 year, children begin to assert their power and control over the world through directing play and other social interaction. Children who are successfully complete this stage feel capable and able to lead others. Those who fail to acquire these skills are left with a sense of guilt, self-doubt and lack of initiative.

Stage 4 Industry vs Inferiority - Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

This stage covers the early school years from approximately age 5 to 11. Through social interactions, children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments and abilities.

Children who are encouraged and commended by parents and teachers develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills. Those who receive little or no encouragement from parents, teachers, or peers will doubt their ability to be successful.

Stage 5 Identity vs Role Confusion - Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

During adolescence 12 to 18 years, children are exploring their independence and developing a sense of self. Those who receive proper encouragement and reinforcement through personal exploration will emerge from this stage with a strong sense of self and a feeling of independence and control. 
Those who remain unsure of their beliefs and desires will insecure and confused about themselves and the future.

Stage 6 Intimacy vs Isolation - Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

This stage covers the period of early adulthood 18 to 40 years, as when people are exploring personal relationships. Erikson believed it was vital that people develop close, committed relationships with other people. Those who are successful at this step will develop relationships that are committed and secure.

Remember that each step builds on skills learned in previous steps. Erikson believed that a strong sense of personal identity was important to developing intimate relationships.

Studies have demonstrated that those with a poor sense of self tend to have less committed relationships and are more likely to suffer emotional isolation, loneliness, and depression.

Stage 7 Generativity vs Stagnation - Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

This stage takes place during the age’s 4o years to 65 years. Through this time, grown-ups endeavor to make or sustain things that will outlive them; frequently by child rearing kids or contributing to constructive changes that advantage others. 
Contributing to society and getting things done to profit future generations are significant necessities at this stage.

Stage 8 Integrity vs Despair - Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

This is the 8th and final stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. This stage starts from 6o or 65 year’s age to death. In this stage Psychologists, Counselors and Nurses use this concept for caring of older patients.

Erikson believed that when we see our whole lives are imperfect or unproductive, we feel sad about our past lives. We become disappointed with our lives and may despair, and frequently prompting depression and misery.

Shrewd individuals are not portrayed by a nonstop condition of sense of integrity, yet they experience both inner integrity and despair.

Achievement in this stage will prompt the goodness of knowledge. Knowledge empowers an individual to think back on their existence with a feeling of conclusion and culmination, and furthermore acknowledge demise unafraid.


Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development Theory comprises 8 psychosocial development stages.
Psychosocial Development by Erikson - In whole life people grow up and changed their life styles according their successes and failures.

Erikson was the first theorist who looked at the lifespan development of an individual. While other psychosocial development theorists just focused on childhood events only.

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