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By Sanjeeta Baral
ALittleAbout Erik Erikson ...
Erik Homburger Erikson ( 15 June 1902 – 12 May 1994) was a German
American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his
theory on psychosocial development of human beings. He may be most
famous for coining the phrase identity crisis.
MAJOR WORKS :-
Childhood and Society (1950)
Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History (1958)
Insight and Responsibility (1966)
Identity:Youth and Crisis (1968)
Gandhi'sTruth:On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence (1969)
Life History and the Historical Moment (1975)
Adulthood (edited book, 1978)
Vital Involvement in Old Age (with J. M. Erikson and H. Kivnick, 1986)
The Life CycleCompleted (with J. M. Erikson, 1987)
WHAT IS PSYCHOSOCIALDEVELOPMENT ???
Erikson’s psychosocial development is one of the best
known theories of personality in psychology.
psychosocial is relating to the combination of
psychological and social behaviour.
Psychological + Social
[“Psycho” relating to mind, brain and “Social” means
external relationship with environment and people live in
It means the psychological development of the
individual in relation to his or her social environment.
Stages of Psychosocial development :
Erikson’s Theory accounts for development across
the life span, from birth to death.
Erikson proposed that we move through a series of 8
psychosocial development stages and each stage is
characterised by Developmental Crisis /Identity Crisis
which could have a positive or negative outcome for
The main focus of this theory is the school years
addressed by Stage-3 to stage-5 (age 3 to 19).
TrustVs Mistrust Feeding Hope
2 Early childhood
(1.5 -3 years)
Shame / Doubt
ToiletTraining Will Power /
3 Play Age
4 School Age
Peer Relationship Fedility
6 Young Adulthood
Love Relation ship Love
8 Old Age
Reflection on and
1. Infancy( 0-1 YEARS )
(Trust Vs Mistrust)
First psychosocial crisis occurs during the first year of
life.The crisis is 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.
The way it is nourished , handled and protected and
kept safe & comfortable at this stage may provide
the baby with a sense of security or insecurity, a
feeling of trust and mistrust in mother or care taker
and ultimately in its surrounding.
2. Early Childhood (2-3 Years)
Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
The child is developing physically and becoming more
mobile, and discovering that he or she has many skills and
abilities, such as putting on clothes and shoes, playing with
toys, etc. Such skills illustrate the child's growing sense of
independence and autonomy.
Erikson states it is critical that parents allow their children to
explore the limits of their abilities within an encouraging
environment which is tolerant of failure.
Within the bound of safety, he must be provide adequate
opportunities for the acquisition of a sense of autonomy
and knowledge about his limitation.
3. PLAY AGE(3-6 Years)
Initiative vs. Guilt
During this period the primary feature involves the
child regularly interacting with other children at
school. Central to this stage is play, as it provides
children with the opportunity to explore their
interpersonal skills through initiating activities.
If given this opportunity, children develop a sense of
initiative and feel secure in their ability and make
In case the child is discouraged from taking the
initiatives and is pulled down by unhealthy criticism
or punishment for minor failure, child is sure to
develop a sense of guilt.
4. SCHOOL AGE (7-12 Years)
Industry Vs Inferiority
Children are at the stage where they will be learning to
read and write, to do sums, to do things on their own.
Teachers begin to take an important role in the child’s life
as they teach the child specific skills.
It is at this stage that the child’s peer group will gain
greater significance and will become a major source of
the child’s self-esteem. The child now feels the need to
win approval by demonstrating specific competencies
that are valued by society and begin to develop a sense of
pride in their accomplishments.
5. ADOLESCENCE (13-19 Years)
Identity vs role confusion
Adolescents search for a sense of self and
The sudden changes in their bodies and minds
and the demands of the society compelled them
to think and ask questions of themselves like,
who am I ?Am i the same person i used to be
?What am i supposed to do and in which manner
am i to behave ?
6.YOUNG Adulthood( 20-30
Intimacy vs isolation
During this period, we begin to share ourselves more
intimately with others. We explore relationships leading
toward longer-term commitments with someone other than
a family member.
Successful completion of this stage can lead to comfortable
relationships and a sense of commitment, safety, and care
within a relationship. Avoiding intimacy, fearing commitment
and relationships can lead to isolation, loneliness, and
sometimes depression. Success in this stage will lead to the
virtue of love.
7. ADULTHOOD (30-60 years)
Generativity vs Stagnation
During middle adulthood (ages 40 to 65), we establish our
careers, settle down within a relationship, begin our own
families and develop a sense of being a part of the bigger
We give back to society through raising our children,
being productive at work, and becoming involved in
community activities and organizations.
By failing to achieve these objectives, we become
stagnant and feel unproductive. Success in this stage will
lead to the virtue of care.
8.OLD AGE (Beyond 60s)
Ego integrity vs Despair
As we grow older (60years and over) and become senior
citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity, and explore
life as a retired person. It is during this time that we
contemplate our accomplishments and are able to develop
integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life.
Erik Erikson believed if we see our lives as unproductive, feel
guilt about our past, or feel that we did not accomplish our life
goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair,
often leading to depression and hopelessness.
Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of wisdom.
Wisdom enables a person to look back on their life with a
sense of closure and completeness, and also accept death