Erik Erickson

Developmental Theorist

The 8 stages of Man

According to this theory, the completion of each stage results in healthy, successful interactions with others. Failure to complete a stage can result in a reduced ability to complete further stages causing a more unhealthy personality and sense of self. However, these stages can be resolved successfully at a later time.

Trust vs. Mistrust

From a child's birth to one year, children begin to learn the ability to trust others based upon the consistency of their caregiver(s). If trust develops successfully, the child gains confidence and security in the world around it and is able to feel secure even when threatened. Unsuccessful completion of this stage can result in an inability to trust, and a sense of fear about the inconsistent world. It may result in anxiety, heightened insecurities, and an over feeling of mistrust in the world around them.

Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

Between the ages of one and three, children begin to develop their independence, by walking away from their mother, picking which toy to play with, and making choices about what they like to wear and what to eat. 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 become overly dependent upon others, lack self-esteem, and/or feel a sense of shame or doubt in themselves.

Initiative vs. Guilt

From ages three to six, children assert themselves more frequently. They 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 discouraged, either through criticism or control, children develop a sense of guilt. They may feel like a disturbance to others and will remain followers, lacking in self-initiative.

Industry vs. Inferiority

Between age six and puberty, children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments. They develop projects, see them through to completion, and feel good about what they have achieved. During this time, teachers play an increased role in the child’s development. 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, and the child begins to feel inferior, doubting their own abilities and therefore may not reach their potential.

Identity vs. Role Confusion

Alright so this is around where we are. Between the ages of 12-18. In this stage basically what goes on is you find you. In the previous stages everything kind depended on outside influence. In this stage its primarily just you and the way you start to collect the data and interpret it thus projecting your inner self and making who you will become.

During this stage individuals need to balance the troubles of social interactions and finding themselves. Some individuals decide that this is to much to handle and start to revert back to more children like ways. This process is called moratorium.

Intimacy vs. Isolation

In the age group of 18-35 ish the individual person takes up the job of finding a companion. Someone to "settle down with" so to speak. But in recent years this stage seems to be getting pushed back. However, this young adult group who seeks satisfying relationships can go either way. Either you find it or you don't. Plain and simple. Those who don't are likely to live life in "isolation" and people who do well you know where that goes. Regardless, their are more "relationships" then you might think. Yes there is the classic example of boyfriend girlfriend, but that only really hits one side of the wall. The other side really pertains to close comrades and life long friendships.

Generativity vs. Stagnation

This stage is commonly referred to as the mid life from around 35-55 years of age. This chuck of life deals with self worth and truly finding meaning in life. Some people hit a mid life crisis which can add up to job changes, children growing up, and truly giving something back to the community. Most people fear meaninglessness and inactivity.

Really in this stage their is no path you must fallow to keep moving up. Instead its more or less just stage.

Ego Integrity vs. Despair

In the eyes of Erikson, most of life is spent preparing for the last two stages of life. In my eyes It seems almost true. The last two stages seem easy going and relaxed.

55- death most people look back on life and see that it was either worth it or it wasn't. Integrity or despair, they either live out the rest of their life happy and full of knowledge or in question of was it worth it? Nevertheless in this stage the end is death, their is no escape and their is no alternative..... Until science finds a way that is.


"Erikson's Psychosocial Development in Psychology 101 at AllPsych Online." Erikson's Psychosocial Development in Psychology 101 at AllPsych Online. Ed. AllPsych and Heffner Media Group, Inc.,. AllPsych and Heffner Media Group, Inc., 29 Nov. 2011. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

"Erikson’s Stages of Development." Learning Theories RSS. Ed. Identity Theories. Identity Theories, 29 Nov. 2011. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.