Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development, as articulated by Erik Erikson, in collaboration with Joan Erikson, is a comprehensive psychoanalytic theory that identifies a series of eight stages, in which a healthy developing individual should pass through from infancy to late adulthood. All stages are present at birth but only begin to unfold according to both a natural scheme and one’s ecological and cultural upbringing. In each stage, the person confronts, and hopefully masters, new challenges. Each stage builds upon the successful completion of earlier stages. The challenges of stages not successfully completed may be expected to reappear as problems in the future.
However, mastery of a stage is not required to advance to the next stage. The outcome of one stage is not permanent and can be modified by later experiences. Erikson’s stage theory characterizes an individual advancing through the eight life stages as a function of negotiating his or her biological forces and sociocultural forces. Each stage is characterized by a psychosocial crisis of these two conflicting forces (as shown in the table below). If an individual does indeed successfully reconcile these forces (favoring the first mentioned attribute in the crisis), he or she emerges from the stage with the corresponding virtue. For example, if an infant enters into the toddler stage (autonomy vs. shame and doubt) with more trust than mistrust, he or she carries the virtue of hope into the remaining life stages.
- 1.1Hope: trust vs. mistrust (oral-sensory, infancy, 0–2 years)
- 1.2Will: autonomy vs. shame and doubt (early childhood, 2–4 years)
- 1.3Purpose: initiative vs. guilt (locomotor-genital, preschool, 4–5 years)
- 1.4Competence: industry vs. inferiority (latency, school age, 5–12 years)
- 1.5Fidelity: identity vs. role confusion (adolescence, 13–19 years)
- 1.6Love: intimacy vs. isolation (early adulthood, 20-39 years)
- 1.7Care: generativity vs. stagnation (adulthood, 40–64 years)
- 1.8Wisdom: ego integrity vs. despair (maturity, 65 – death)
- 1.9Ninth stage
- 2Development of post-Freudian theory
- 4See also
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