Psycho-Social Stages of Development

Ashley Pfenning & Katie Rayburn

Erik Erikson

(1902- 1994)

-A psychoanalyst

-A Neo-Freudian

-Grew up in Germany

-Practiced in the United States

Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development

-People progress through stages of personality development based on their resolution of conflicts between potentially positive or negative outcomes of behavioral changes

Social and emotional development continue throughout life

-Believed that all children progress through a predictable series of changes

-Believed that each individual’s ultimate goal is the quest for identity

-Early childhood experiences and conflict resolution

-Each stage represents a central psychosocial conflict that must be resolved and understood for healthy development to occur

-Emphasized that in addition to mediating between id impulses and superego demands, the ego makes a positive contribution to development, acquiring attitudes and skills that make the individual an active, contributing member of society

Erikson's Stages Song!

Erik Erikson's 8-stages Hoedown

Erikson's Stages

1. Trust Vs. Mistrust

-Birth to 1.5 years old

-Infants must form trusting relationships with parents/caregivers.

-If care is poor, mistrust is then developed.

-Trust is created from warm, interactive care.

2. Autonomy vs. Shame

-1.5 to 3 years old

-As they master skills such as walking and toileting, children begin to develop feeling of autonomy and self-control.

-When these expectations are not met, it can lead to shame and doubt.

-There is a shift from external control of behavior to the child's self-control.

-They begin to use their own judgements instead of their caregiver's in that they want to decide things for themselves

-Parents can encourage autonomy by allowing the child safely explore free choice and not forcing or shaming the child.

3. Initiative vs. Guilt

-3 to 6 years old

-Initiative is a sense of ambition and responsibility which develops when parents support their child’s sense of purpose.

-Children take more initiative in dealing with their environment.

-They may experience guilt as a result of conflict with caregivers.

-Through make-believe play, children gain insight into the person they can become.

-If parents demand too much self-control, children experience extra guilt.

4. Industry vs. inferiority

-6 to 12 years old

-Children develop industry by successfully dealing with demands to learn new skills; failure of this leads to feelings of inferiority.

-At school, children learn to work and cooperate with others.

-Inferiority develops when negative experiences at home, school, or with friends lead to feelings of incompetence.

5. Identity vs. Role Confusion

-12 to 18 years old (Adolescence)

-Teenagers need develop a sense of identity in areas of their lives, such as occupation and gender.

-Without identity, they can risk role confusion in adulthood.

-Identity crisis is a temporary period of distress where teenagers experiment with a variety of choices before settling on values and goals.

-By exploring values and vocational goals, the young person forms a personal identity.

-The negative outcome is confusion about future adult roles.

6. Intimacy vs. Isolation

-Early Adulthood

-Young adults need to form intimate relationships or suffer from loneliness and isolation.

-Because of earlier disappointments, some individuals cannot form close bonds and remain isolated.

7. Generativity vs. Stagnation

-Middle Adulthood

-Adults must find ways to support future generations, or life cannot move forward.

-Generativity means giving to the next generation through child rearing, caring for others, or productive work.

-The person who fails in these ways feels an absence of meaningful accomplishment.

8. Ego Integrity vs. Despair

-Old Age

-Older adults must come to feel a sense of fulfillment in life or they will experience despair as they face death.

-Integrity results from feeling that life was worth living as it happened.

-Older people who are dissatisfied with their lives fear death.

Key Words and Ideas

id: largest portion of the mind, is the source of basic biological needs and desires.


ego: the conscious, rational part of personality, emerges in early infancy to redirect the id’s impulses so they are discharged in acceptable ways


superego: (3-6yrs is develops) conscience, develops as parents insist that children conform to the values of society