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Theory of

Psychosocial
Development
By Erik Erikson

Introduction
Erik Erikson, a German born in 1902, was a
psychoanalyst who developed the Theory
of Psychosocial Development
He believed that the achievements and
failures of earlier stages influence later
stages, whereas later stages modify and
transform earlier ones

Psychosocial Development
Personality develops in stages through
social experiences (as opposed to
Freuds focus on psychosexual
development)
Main element = ego identity

Ego Identity
Conscious sense of self that we develop
through social interaction
Constantly changing due to new
experiences and information we acquire in
our daily interactions
Sense of competence motivates behavior
and actions

TRUST vs MISTRUST (0-12


months)
Development of trust is based on the
dependability and quality of the childs
caregiver
If caregivers are inconsistent, emotionally
unavailable or rejecting, it will contribute to
the feelings of mistrust in the children they
care for
EGO QUALITY = HOPE

TRUST vs MISTRUST
Positive: Feel safe and secure in the world
Negative: Fear

AUTONOMY vs SHAME & DOUBT


(1-2 years)
Focused on children developing a greater
sense of personal control
Control bodily functions but also food
choices, by preferences and clothing
selection
EGO QUALITY = WILL

AUTONOMY vs SHAME & DOUBT


Positive: Secure and Confident
Negative: Sense of Inadequacy and Selfdoubt

INITIATIVE vs GUILT (3-5


years)
Pre-schooler
Development of EQ through directing play
and other social interactions
EGO QUALITY = PURPOSE

INITIATIVE vs GUILT
Positive: Capable and able to lead
Negative: Sense of guilt, self-doubt and
lack of initiative

INDUSTRY vs INFERIORITY (511 years)


Children begin to develop a sense of pride
in their accomplishment and ability
EGO QUALITY = COMPETENCE

INDUSTRY vs INFERIORITY
Positive: Develop a feeling of competence
and belief in their skills
Negative: Doubt in their ability

IDENTITY vs CONFUSION (12-18


years)
Adolescence
EGO QUALITY = FIDELITY

IDENTITY vs CONFUSION
Positive: Develop a strong sense of self and
feeling of independence
Negative: Insecure and confused

INTIMACY vs ISOLATION (20s)


Early adulthood
Exploring personal relationships
EGO QUALITY = LOVE

INTIMACY vs ISOLATION
Positive: Develop close, committed
relationships
Negative: Suffer emotional isolation,
loneliness and depression

GENERATIVITY vs STAGNATION
(30s)
Adulthood
Continue to build on life
Focuses more on career and family
EGO QUALITY = CARE

GENERATIVITY vs STAGNATION
Positive: Productive and progressive
Negative: Unproductive and uninvolved

INTEGRITY vs DESPAIR (60s)


Old age
Focused on reflecting back on life
EGO QUALITY = WISDOM

INTEGRITY vs DESPAIR
Positive: feels a sense of integrity; general
feeling of satisfaction
Negative: Feeling of bitterness and despair

Psychosocial
Stage

Age

Virtue

Related
Psychopathology

1. TRUST vs Birth 18
MISTRUST
months

Hope

Psychosis
Addictions
Depression

2.
~ 18
AUTONOMY months
vs SHAME &
DOUBT

Will

3.
INITIATIVE
vs GUILT

Purpose

Conversion
disorder
Phobia
Psychosomatic
disorder
Inhibition

~ 3 years

Paranoia
Obsessions
Compulsions
Impulsivity

Psychosocial
Stage

4. INDUSTRY
vs
INFERIORITY
5. IDENTITY
vs ROLE
CONFUSION

Age

~ 13
years

Virtue

Related
Psychopathology

Competenc
e

Creative
Inhibition
Inertia
Delinquent
behavior
Gender-related
identity disorders
Borderline
psychotic
episodes

Fidelity

Psychosocial
Stage

6. INTIMACY vs
ISOLATION

Age

Virtue

~ 20s

Love

7.
~ 40s
GENERATIVITY
vs STAGNATION
8. INTEGRITY
~ 60s
vs DESPAIR

Care

Wisdom

Related
Psychopatholo
gy

Schizoid
personality
disorder
Distantiatio
n
Midlife crisis
Premature
invalidism
Extreme
alienation