Erik Erikson is best known for his theory called the stages of development, a theory of development that considers the effects of outside and external factors such as parents and society on the development of ones personality from childhood to adulthood. Erikson’s theory states that one must go through a series of eight stages over their entire life cycle.
Erik Erikson is a German-born, American psychoanalyst that was heavily influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud.
Why You Should Care
Erik Erikson’s theory of development is known all around the globe and has been a very important contribution to the psychology and sociology community.
The eight stages of Erikson’s Stage of Development consist of are infant (trust vs. mistrust), toddler (autonomy vs. shame), preschooler (initiative vs. guilt), school-age child (industry vs. inferiority), adolescent (identity vs. role confusion), young adult (intimacy vs. isolation), middle-aged adult (generativity vs. stagnation), older adult (ego integrity vs. despair). Ultimately, each distinct stage has two possible outcomes. Erikson’s theory states with the successful completion of all 8 stages can result in a healthy personality and the ability to have successful interactions with others. While failure to complete each stage successfully can result in an unhealthy personality. In the first stage, from birth to 1 year of age, children begin to learn the concept of trust based on the consistency of their parents or caregivers. With the successful development of trust, children can gain confidence and trust in their surrounding society. On the other hand, if children are unable to completely and successfully grasp the concept of trust, the result may end up as mistrust, insecurities, anxiety and a lack of security in their surrounding society. In the second stage, between the ages of one to three years of age, children start to assert their independence. One prime example is when children decide to play with toys instead of their caregiver or when children begin to make choices about their likes and dislikes. If their independence is encouraged by their surroundings, children gain confidence in their ability to do things on their own. However, if children are overly regulated and not given the opportunity to develop independence, children may begin to depend on others, lack self-esteem and feel shame in their own abilities. In the third stage, three to six years of age, children will either develop a sense of initiative or guilt. At this age most children begin to act more independent through the planning of certain things and asserting themselves with other individuals. Again, if these things are encouraged children feel secure in their initiative abilities and on the other hand, if this is discouraged or criticized severely, children will begin to feel guilt and lack initiative. In the fourth stage, from the age of six to until the child hits puberty, children have the ability to learn, create and accomplish many things through new skills and knowledge, thus developing a sense of industry. This stage is a much more social stage in comparison to other stages. If the sense of industry is not successfully achieved, children may begin to feel inferiority among fellow children ultimately, resulting in problems with self-esteem. The fifth stage, from the age of 12 years to 18 years, is a very important stage for it is essentially the transition from childhood to adulthood. It is also a very important stage because this is the stage where young adults and adults alike will think about their