Psychosocial Development

Like Freud, Erik Erickson also believed that personality is a significant part of our development. Erickson was greatly influenced by Freud. Erickson believed that the process of development determined by the interaction of mind, body and cultural influences. Even though, he accepted Freud’s idea of id, ego, and superego; he disagreed with Freud’s belief that “personality solely on the basis of sexuality”. He added few more stages to Freud’s development theory and called it Psychosocial stages of Development. Erickson’s developmental theory shows how one develops through innate schemes and how he/she is brought up in a family which expresses their values of their  culture. He believed that the external world and one’s culture has a massive affect on an individual’s personality.

  • Trust vs. Mistrust (0-12 months)
    • During this stage, a child starts to develop trust towards their caregiver. If the trust is developed successfully, then the child starts to trust the world around him/her and gains confidence. However, if the child is unsuccessful at developing trust with his/her caregiver, then he/she may feel unsecured in the world around them. And he/she may have hard time trusting another person.
  • Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (1-3 years)
    • During this stage, a child starts to develop in dependence by walking away from their mothers, deciding themselves about which toy to play with, and eating on their own. If the child is encouraged and supported of their independence, then he/she gains confidence and self-esteem. On the other hand, if the child is not encouraged and is controlled from their independence, then he/she may be dependent on others, have low self-esteem, and may not have any confidence at all.
  • Initiative vs. Guilt (3-6 years)
    • In this stage of development, a child begins to plan activities, make up games and begin to hang out with other kids. If a child is encouraged and given opportunity to do all of this, then he/she begin to feel secure about making decisions and lead others. However, if the child is discouraged or controlled, then he/she may develop sense of guilt, become followers, and lack self-initiative.
  • Industry vs. Inferiority (age 6 to puberty)
    • During this stage, a child begins to feel pride in his/her accomplishments. They feel good about themselves and their achievements. If the child is encouraged and reinforced for their actions, then he/she feels confident in their abilities to achieve goals. But, if the child is not encouraged of his/her initiatives, then the child may doubt his/her ability of achieving goals, and being successful.
  • Identity vs. Role Confusion (during adolescence)
    • According to Erickson, the transition from childhood to being an adult is the most important stage. During these years, a teenager starts being an independent; he/she begins to explore career, relationship, college, housing and etc. If he/she is encouraged for doing this, then he/she becomes more independent, forms confidence, and forms an identity. However, if he/she is hindered and slowed down for some reason, then he/she forms a sense of confusion about their identity and the world around them.
  • Intimacy vs. Isolation (young adulthood)
    • An individual begins to share him/herself intimately with others and explore possibilities of relationships. If he/she is successful with creating successful relationships, and forms a sense of commitment, then he/she feels comfortable, safe, and intimate with his/her partner. However, an individual does not form sense of commitment and avoids intimacy, then he/she may become isolated, lonely, and may not be able to form successful relationships.
  • Generativity vs. Stagnation (middle adulthood)
    • During this stage, an individual begin to form a family, career and looks at future from a bigger picture. If the individual is successful, then he/she feels productive, and involved with his family and community. However, if the individual is unsuccessful, the he/she feels unproductive and becomes passive.
  • Ego Integrity vs. Despair (late adulthood to old)
    • During this stage, an individual retires and looks back on his/her accomplishments. He/she forms integrity, if the individual feels accomplished and successful. However, if they are not satisfied with their past experiences and what they have accomplished, they may feel despair.

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