2. Erik Erikson and the Psychosocial Stages of Development
Erik Erikson described eight stages of human development, ranging from infancy to late adulthood. Erikson integrated social experiences extensively into his stage theory. Thus, they are most aptly described as psychosocial stages. Read the detailed description of the stages. It’s recommended that you watch the videos and take notes on the content for study purposes. Erikson’s (1959) theory of psychosocial development has eight distinct stages, taking in five stages up to the age of 18 years and three further stages beyond, well into adulthood.
Like Freud and many others, Erik Erikson maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order, and builds upon each previous stage. This is called the epigenetic principle. During each stage, the person experiences a psychosocial crisis which could have a positive or negative outcome for personality development. For Erikson (1963), these crises are of a psychosocial nature because they involve psychological needs of the individual (i.e. psycho) conflicting with the needs of society (i.e. social). According to the theory, successful completion of each stage results in a healthy personality and the acquisition of basic virtues. Basic virtues are characteristic strengths which the ego can use to resolve subsequent crises. Failure to successfully complete a stage can result in a reduced ability to complete further stages and therefore a more unhealthy personality and sense of self. These stages, however, can be resolved successfully at a later time. Stage Psychosocial Crisis Basic Virtue Age 1. Trust vs. Mistrust Hope 0 - 1½ 2. Autonomy vs. Shame Will 1½ - 3 3. Initiative vs. Guilt Purpose 3 - 5 4. Industry vs. Inferiority Competency 5 - 12 5. Identity vs. Role Confusion Fidelity 12 - 18 6. Intimacy vs. Isolation Love 18 - 40
Stage Psychosocial Crisis Basic Virtue Age 7. Generativity vs. Stagnation Care 40 - 65 8. Ego Integrity vs. Despair Wisdom 65+ 1. Trust vs. Mistrust Is the world a safe place or is it full of unpredictable events and accidents waiting to happen? Erikson's first psychosocial crisis occurs during the first year or so of life (like Freud's oral stage of psychosexual development). The crisis is one of trust vs. mistrust. During this stage, the infant is uncertain about the world in which they live. To resolve these feelings of uncertainty, the infant looks towards their primary caregiver for stability and consistency of care. If the care the infant receives is consistent, predictable and reliable, they will develop a sense of trust which will carry with them to other relationships, and they will be able to feel secure even when threatened.
Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of hope . By developing a sense of trust, the infant can have hope that as new crises arise, there is a real possibility that other people will be there as a source of support. Failing to acquire the virtue of hope will lead to the development of fear.
- Summer '19
- Developmental Psychology, Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, Erik Erikson