Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development | Psycho- Social Theory of Development (Erikson) B.Ed Notes

The famous psychoanalyst Erik Erikson is considered to have developed the theory of psychosocial development that covers the normal development of human beings throughout the life span. Erikson said that an individual’s development is the result of his interaction with his social environment. From his book itself, their social development puts them under specific pressure or conflict by making specific demands at different ages or developmental stages of their life.

Erikson discovered eight such issues or life crises that arise at different ages or periods of an individual’s development and linked them to eight stages of psychosocial development covering an individual’s entire life span.

Table of Age span for the stages of psycho-social development

Stage of psycho-social developmentSpecific age or period
Trust Vs mistrustBirth to One year
Autonomy Vs shame & DoubtOne to Three Years
Initiative Vs GuiltThree to Five years
Industry Vs InferiorityFive to Eleven years
Identity Vs Role ConfusionEleven to Eighteen Years
Intimacy Vs Isolation Eighteen toThirty Five Years
Generativity Vs StagnationThirty Five to Sixty Five Years
Integrity Vs Despair OverSixty Five Years

Stage I: Period of Trust Vs Mistrust (Birth to 1 year)

In the first year of life the child has to face a crisis called trust versus distrust. During this period the child is completely dependent on his mother or caregiver for the satisfaction of his needs. The feeling of trust or distrust in relation to the environment thus acquired at this stage of development can be carried forward into the developmental stage and consequently reflected in the developing personality.

Stage II: The Period of Autonomy Vs Shame and Doubt (1 to 3 years)

Having acquired a primary sense of trust and security in relation to his environment in the second and third years of his life, the child now passes through a second stage of psycho-social development. With newly developed motor or physical skills and language ability, the child now engages in exploring his environment and experimenting with his strengths and limitations to gain a sense of autonomy and independence.

Children who are not given the opportunity to develop a sense of independence by over-protective, rigid, or restrictive parents begin to doubt their ability and eventually feel shy or embarrassed in the presence of others.

Stage III: The Period of Initiative Vs Guilt (3 to 5 years)

The third stage of psychosocial development between the ages of three and five is characterized by a crisis of initiative versus guilt. Equipped with a sense of confidence and autonomy, the child now begins to take initiative in interacting with his environment.

If the child is discouraged from taking initiative due to lack of confidence in him by his parents and guardians or is harassed by unhealthy criticism, punishment or scolding for small failures, then the child may develop delinquency. Emotions are sure to develop, causing him to hesitate. Indecision and lack of initiative in planning and executing life activities.

Stage IV: Period of Industry Vs Inferiority (5 years to 11 years)

Thus teachers and school environment play a very important role in taking the child out of the crisis of industry versus inferiority complex. School becomes the place where success and failure are defined. Therefore, it is the duty of teachers and school authorities to prepare their classroom and school environment in such a way that it helps students maintain a positive attitude and see themselves as capable and valuable individuals.

Stage V: Period of Identity Vs Role Confusion (11 Years to 18 Years)

This stage, starting with the arrival of puberty, is marked by a crisis of identity versus role confusion. Equipped with a sense of confidence, autonomy, initiative and industry, adolescents begin to discover their personal identity. Sudden changes in body and mental functioning and changed demands of society force one to ask oneself and question, who am I?

Teachers and parents can play a very constructive role in helping teens through this identity versus confusion crisis. Adolescents seeking recognition should be fully recognized and it should be clearly understood that adolescents want to be recognized as adults and therefore should not be treated like children, as many teachers and parents believe. Father does.

Stage VI: The Period of Intimacy Vs Isolation (18 years to 35 years)

It is the sixth stage of psycho-social development in the period of early adulthood years. During this stage the individual develops a sense of intimacy or commitment to a close relationship with another person. Thus, during this stage the individual seeks to form a close personal connection by merging his or her identity with another person. Relationships develop into such a close bond that one has to risk the loss of one’s ego or image, as is evidenced in the cordial relationship between husband and wife and close friends, and that between a teacher and his disciple. Is an ideal relationship.

The opposite of intimacy is isolation. When a person fails to develop a sense of adequate intimacy by merging his or her identity with another person or when the relationship deteriorates for one reason or another the person begins to develop a sense of alienation.

Stage VII: The Period of Creativity Vs Stagnation (35 years to 65 years)

Up to this stage a person’s life has been spent trying to establish himself in a professional career. Now, he needs to satisfy his need for generosity, his concern for raising and guiding the new generation.

Contrary to some generosity, the person has a tendency to become egoistic and selfish. This leads to stagnation and personal poverty.

Stage VIII: The Period of Ego-Integrity Vs Despair (Over Sixty Five Years)

This stage of psychosocial development is later associated with adulthood or old age. During this final stage of psychosocial development the individual faces the final crisis of his or her lifetime, called ego-integrity versus despair. Ego integrity refers to the integration or culmination of the successful resolution of all seven previous crises that provides a sense of completeness and satisfaction to one’s ego.

When one reflects on one’s past and is satisfied with what could have been or what should have been done differently. On the other hand, the person who has not been able to successfully resolve the previous crisis of the developmental stages will certainly feel differently. When they look back at their lives, they feel disappointed and dissatisfied with the way they live their lives.

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