Erickson's Stages of Development

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Psychosocial Stage 1 - Trust vs. Mistrust
• The first stage of Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development occurs between birth and one year of age and is the most fundamental stage in life.2

• Because an infant is utterly dependent, the development of trust is based on the dependability and quality of the child’s caregivers.

• If a child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and secure in the world. Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or rejecting contribute to feelings of mistrust in the children they care for. Failure to develop trust will result in fear and a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable.

Psychosocial Stage 2 - Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

• The second stage of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development takes place during early childhood and is focused on children developing a greater sense of personal control.2

• Like Freud, Erikson believed that toilet training was a vital part of this process. However, Erikson's reasoning was quite different then that of Freud's. Erikson believe that learning to control one’s body functions leads to a feeling of control and a sense of independence.

• Other important events include gaining more control over food choices, toy preferences, and clothing selection.

• Children who successfully complete this stage feel secure and confident, while those who do not are left with a sense of inadequacy and self-doubt.

Psychosocial Stage 3 - Initiative vs. Guilt

• During the preschool years, children begin to assert their power and control over the world through directing play and other social interaction.

• Children who are successful at this stage feel capable and able to lead others. Those who fail to acquire these skills are left with a sense of guilt, self-doubt and lack of initiative.3

Psychosocial Stage 4 - Industry vs. Inferiority

• This stage covers the early school years from approximately age 5 to 11.

• Through social...
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