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Analysis of Erik Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development


People develop in many different ways, and these developments depend on certain stages. These stages show that the person is different physically and socially. These differences are seen in many stages from infancy to adulthood. To illustrate the difference between these stages, we can give an example of Erik Erikson's psychosocial development stages. These stages were created by separating them by age categories from birth to death. These age categories reflect different emotions, and these emotions reflect important stages in human development. While this study reflects the psychosocial aspects of people, it also talks about the specific characteristics of people. For example; a newborn will carry the virtue of hope into the later stages of life if it reaches the toddler period with confidence rather than skepticism. Stage challenges that are unsuccessfully resolved might be anticipated to recur as issues in the future. To advance to the next step, one need not, however, have mastered the previous one. In one research, participants demonstrated considerable improvement as a result of structured exercises. This situation shows the importance of the study.

Theory of Psychosocial Development Infancy ( Under 1 year)

The essential requirements of the child are met by its parents or other caretakers in the first phase of Erik Erikson's hypothesis, and this contact determines whether the infant develops trust or mistrust. A child can come with 'I trust the world', the world?

According to Erikson, trust is "a basic feeling of one's dependability as well as a fundamental confidence in others." For sustenance and comfort, the newborn is reliant on the parents, particularly the mother. Babies frequently point at their parents or other caregivers to express their interest or desire. The first person a child learns to trust is his parent or caregiver. Babies' perception of the world will be built on trust if their parents provide them with a sense of warmth, security, and dependable affection. The virtue of hope is something that the youngster develops as he learns to trust the world around him. A sense of uneasiness will develop if parents are unable to give their children a safe environment and cannot satisfy their fundamental requirements.

Once insecure, a person may experience irritation, uncertainty, disengagement, and a loss of confidence. Learning if other people, especially primary caregivers, routinely provide fundamental requirements is the key developmental activity throughout infancy. Young children should not be subjected to protracted insecurity or unnecessary suffering. As a result, youngsters grow up maladjusted and with a cautious viewpoint on life, which can be detrimental in the long run. This stage reflects 'hope' virtue and determines the ‘Trust vs. Mistrust’ crisis.

Toddlerhood (1–2 years)

As the child develops control over his motor and elimination processes, he starts to investigate his surroundings. The child existentially asks “Is It Okay to Be Me?”. Parents provide their children with a solid base of stability from which they can emerge to express their will. Parental patience and support foster a child's growth in autonomy.

Children of this age are continuously learning about their surroundings and like exploring the world around them. Children start to show their initial interest at this age. Children who appreciate the outdoors could be fascinated by flora and animals. Parents who are overly controlling are more likely to give their kids a sense of uncertainty and make them reluctant to try out novel and demanding chances.

Toddlers start to be able to take care of some of their requirements as they develop better muscular coordination and mobility. They start feeding themselves, getting dressed, bathing, and using the restroom. If the youngster is given too much freedom, he can grow up to be unconcerned with laws and regulations. This stage reflects 'will' virtue and determines the ‘Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt’ crisis.

Early childhood (3–6 years)

The child learns how to control his environment and acquires fundamental physics concepts. The child existentially asks “Is it Okay for Me to Do, Move, and Act?”. They pick up the ability to easily converse, count, and zip up. At this age, the child wants to begin and finish every action with a goal in mind. A new feeling that is puzzling is guilt. They could feel bad about things they shouldn't do, according to logic. When this endeavor fails to yield the anticipated effects, they could feel guilty.

Preschoolers, aged three to six, differ from other age groups in that they are characterized by the growth of boldness and independence. These young children experience a psychological crisis when they decide to take action against delinquency. The child develops initiative at this age and gets ready to take on leadership responsibilities and accomplish goals. At this age, a child may engage in risky activities like crossing the street unsupervised or riding a bike without a helmet. In addition to developing undesirable habits, the child may also learn to take initiative. These undesirable actions, including striking, screaming, and throwing things, maybe the consequence of the child's disappointment at not accomplishing a goal as intended. This stage reflects 'purpose' virtue and determines the ‘Initiative vs. Guilt’ crisis.

Middle Childhood (7–10 years)

The objective of this stage is to bring up a condition that progressively goes beyond the whims and desires of the game. The child existentially asks “Can I Make it in the World of People and Things?” Technology's foundations were created. A child may begin to doubt his future if he is not taught self-assurance, independence, and work ethic. This can result in feelings of humiliation, remorse, defeat, and inferiority.

The child must manage the challenges of acquiring new skills or run the danger of experiencing feelings of failure, inadequacy, and inferiority so that kids may start making a difference in the world and contribute to society. They grow more self-awareness and realize their abilities.

Adolescence (11–19 years)

The main question for identity recognition would be "Who am I?" which raises the issue of denomination mutually suiting both the person and those around them, meanwhile devoting pressure on the apt personality and character, making one easily vulnerable to society’s and role model’s opinions.

Individuals from 11 to 19 must develop a personal identity that goes beyond extraneous identifications while being free to explore a variety of adult roles without being burdened by the responsibilities that come with the onset of true adulthood. This stage reflects fidelity virtue and determines the ‘Identity vs. Role Confusion’ crisis.

Early adulthood (20–44 years)

According to Erickson, the establishment of the other person's identity is necessary before there can be psychological closeness. Intimacy suggests a propensity to psychologically meld with another person—a friend or in many other ways—with the assurance that one's identity won't be swallowed up by the association.

Erickson defined distance as "the determination to renounce, isolate and, if necessary, eliminate the power and people who become dangerous to the self of individuals," viewing it as the reverse of intimacy. The grownup who doesn't deal with this dilemma is still selfish and desperate. Even though marriage is not to blame for the well-being of many young people, it plays a visible part in their experience of this issue. The spouse is also not a prominent outsider who can help resolve this stage because psychological intimacy is not the same as physical desire. This stage reflects 'love' virtue and determines the ‘Intimacy vs. Isolation’ crisis.

Middle Adulthood (45–64 years)

Developing the ego-power of productivity, or "an interest in becoming and educating the future generation," is the seventh job. High levels of productivity have been defined by contemporary scholars as being characterized by productive people being completely immersed in their profession and the upbringing of young people, as well as being obsessed with social problems of a broader kind. They can balance their interests with those of others and are accepting of those with different beliefs and customs.

Parenting roles are frequently, but not always, a means of expressing productivity. The position of a teacher or mentor could be an option. The individual feels inert (stagnant) and unable to fully engage himself in the caring and nurturing of others if they are unable to develop effectively at this time. This stage reflects the 'care' virtue and determines the ‘Generativity vs. Stagnation’ crisis.

Late Adulthood (65 and above)

The challenge of old age is to overcome the integration-desperation problem. A sense of integration is the capacity to reflect on your life and assess it as one that was lived with purpose, without daydreaming about how events might have played out differently. This memory emphasizes instances of significant decisions and turning points.

Researchers who looked at the autobiographies of well-known psychologists found that they emphasized their time in graduate school and college, which formed the foundation of their professional lives. Desperation and an inability to accept death set in when there is no sense of integration. This stage reflects 'wisdom' virtue and determines the ‘Ego Integrity vs. Despair’ crisis.


Naturally, this review has been oversimplified. It does, however, reflect on the beginning point, which was the urgent need to create new methodologies and classifications in the theory of adult neuroses. Erickson made a substantial contribution in this area, for which he won widespread acclaim. As usual, he began by critically evaluating the psychoanalytic theory of infant development and the relevant clinical facts. He did this to track a person's full life cycle and match various developmental phases in a specific order.

According to Erickson, difficulties unique to each stage of a person's life will eventually occur that he must promptly address. If this doesn't happen, a mental impairment develops that can take different forms.

These studies made a significant contribution to psychology. Accepting Freud's theory [1], he did not concentrate on the idea of the relationship between children and parents but put the interest of the individual at the forefront. Role distortions lead to the fact that the subject may not take place as a member of society. The researcher believed that the environment greatly affects the adaptation of the child and the formation of self-awareness making this theory long-term relevant.


Lewis, O. (2022). Erikson's stages of psychosocial development. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

Mcleod, S. (1970, January 01). [Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial development]. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

[1] M. Fillit MD, Howard. “Freudian Theory.” Freudian Theory - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, 2017,

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