Eric Erickson Stages of Psycho social development

Eric Erickson Stages of Psycho social development

Eric Erickson Stages of Psycho social development: Eric Erickson (1950,63) does not explain psychosexual stages of development, he discussed psychosocial stages. He was greatly influenced by Freud. However, whereas Freud was an Id psychologist, Erickson was an ego psychologist. He emphasized the role of culture and society and the conflict that can take place within the ego itself, whereas, Freud emphasized the conflict between the Id and superego. According to Erickson, the ego develops as it successfully resolve crisis that are distinctly social in nature. These involve establishing a sense of trust in others, developing a sense of identity in society, and helping the next generation prepare for the future.

Erickson explains ‘Eight Stage’ through which a healthily developing human should pass begins from infancy. In each stage the person confronts and hopefully master news challenges. Each stage builds a successful completion of earlier stage. The challenges of stages not successfully completed may be expected to reappear as problem in future.

Ist Stage : Trust Vs Mistrust (Infants, Birth to 12-18 months)

  • The first stage of Erik Erickson theory centers on the infants basic needs met by the parents.
  • The infant depends on the parents especially the mothers for food, substance and comfort.
  • The child relative understanding of the world and society come from the parents and their interaction with the child.
  • If parents expose the child with warmth regularity and of dependable affection the infant view of the world will be one of truest.
  • If the parents fails to provide a secure environment and to meet the Childs basic needs a sense of mistrust will result.
IInd Stage : Autonomy Vs shame & Doubt
  • The child gains control over eliminative functions of motor ability, by this stage he/she begin to explore his/her surroundings.
  • The parents still provide a base of security.
  • The parent’s patience and envisagement helps foster autonomy in the child. Children at this age like to explore the world around them.
  • Caution must be taken at this age because children may explore things that are dangerous to their health and safety.
  • Parents need to encourage the child to becoming more independent whilst at the same time protecting the child so that constant failure is avoided.
  • If children in this stage are encouraged and supported in their increased independence, they become more confident and secure in their own ability to survive in the world.
  • If children are criticized, overly controlled, or not given the opportunity to assert themselves, they begin to feel inadequate in their ability to survive, and may then become overly dependent upon others, lack self-esteem, and feel a sense of shame or doubt in their own abilities.
IIIrd Stage: Initiative vs. Guilt 3 to 6 yrs
  • 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.
  • Children begin to plan activities, make up games, and initiate activities with others.
  • If given this opportunity, children develop a sense of initiative, and feel secure in their ability to lead others and make decisions.
  • Conversely, if this tendency is squelched, either through criticism or control, children develop a sense of guilt.
  • They may feel like a nuisance to others and will therefore remain followers, lacking in self-initiative.
  • The child takes initiatives which the parents will often try to stop in order to protect the child. The child will often overstep the mark in his forcefulness and the danger is that the parents will tend to punish the child and restrict his initiatives too much.
  • It is at this stage that the child will begin to ask many questions as his thirst for knowledge grows.
  • If the parents treat the child’s questions as trivial, a nuisance or embarrassing or other aspects of their behavior as threatening then the child may have feelings of guilt for “being a nuisance”.
  • Too much guilt can make the child slow to interact with others and may inhibit their creativity. Some guilt is, of course, necessary otherwise the child would not know how to exercise self control or have a conscience.
  • A healthy balance between initiative and guilt is important. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of purpose.

IVth Competence : Industry vs inferiority (childhood 6 to 12 years)
  • Children at this age are becoming aware of themselves as individuals.
  • They work hard at being responsible, being good and doing it right.
  • In this stage that the child’s peer group gain greater significance and 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.
  • If children are encouraged and reinforced for their initiative, they begin to feel industrious and feel confident in their ability to achieve goals.
  • If this initiative is not encouraged, if it is restricted by parents or teacher, then the child begins to feel inferior, doubting his own abilities and therefore may not reach his or her potential
Vth Identity vs Role confusion (12-18 yrs)
  • During adolescence, the transition from childhood to adulthood is most important.
  • Children are becoming more independent, and begin to look at the future in terms of career, relationships, families, housing, etc.
  • The individual wants to belong to a society and fit in.
  • This is a major stage in development where the child has to learn the roles he will occupy as an adult.
  • It is during this stage that the adolescent will re-examine his identity and try to find out exactly who he or she is.
  • Erikson suggests that two identities are involved: the sexual and the occupational.
  • During this stage the body image of the adolescent changes.
  • Erikson claims that the adolescent may feel uncomfortable about their body for a while until they can adapt and “grow into” the changes.
  • Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of fidelity.
  • Fidelity involves being able to commit one’s self to others on the basis of accepting other even when there may be ideological differences.
  • During this period, they explore possibilities and begin to form their own identity based upon the outcome of their explorations.
  • Failure to establish a sense of identity within society (“I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”) can lead to role confusion. Role confusing involves the individual not being sure about themselves or their place in society.
  • In response to role confusion or identity crisis an adolescent may begin to experiment with different lifestyles (e.g. work, education or political activities). Also pressuring someone into an identity can result in rebellion in the form of establishing a negative identity, and in addition to these feelings of unhappiness.
VIth Intimacy vs Isolation (19 to 40 years)
  • The intimacy vs isolation conflicts starts around 30 yrs. of age. At this point identify vs role confusion is coming to an end.
  • Erikson believes we are isolated due to intimacy we are afraid or refection.
  • Once people have established their identities, they are ready to make long term commitments to others.
  • They become capable of forming intimate, reciprocal relationship- through close friendship, marriage and willingly make the sacrifices and compromises that such relationship requires.
  • 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.
  • Successful completion of this stage can lead to comfortable relationships and a sense of commitment, safety, and care within a relationship.
VIIth Generativity vs Stagnation (40 to 65 years)
  • Generativity is concerned with establishing and guiding the next generation. Socially valued work and disciplines are expression of generativity simply having children or wanting children does not in and of itself achieves generality.
  • An individual work for the betterment of society that develops a sense of generatively and productivity.
  • In contrast if a person is self centered and unable or unwilling to help society more forward develop feeling of stagnation.
VIIIth Ego integrity Vs Despair (65 and onward)
  • As individual grow older (65 years and over) and become senior citizens, he tend to slow down productivity, and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that he contemplate his accomplishments and able to develop integrity if he see himself as leading a successful life.
  • Erik Erickson believed if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our pasts, 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 without fear.