Erikson's Psychosocial Development Theory

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Erikson's Psychosocial Development Theory

By | December 2007
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erik erikson's psychosocial crisis life cycle model - the eight stages of human development Erikson's model of psychosocial development is a very significant, highly regarded and meaningful concept.

Life is a serious of lessons and challenges which help us to grow. Erikson's wonderful theory helps to tell us why.

The theory is helpful for child development, and adults too.

For the 'lite' version, here's a quick diagram and summary. Extra details follow the initial overview.

For more information than appears on this page, read Erikson's books; he was an award-winning writer and this review does not convey the richness of Erikson's own explanations. It's also interesting to see how his ideas develop over time, perhaps aided by his own journey through the 'psychosocial crisis' stages model that underpinned his work.

Erik Erikson first published his eight stage theory of human development in his 1950 book Childhood and Society. The chapter featuring the model was titled 'The Eight Ages of Man'. He expanded and refined his theory in later books and revisions, notably: Identity and the Life Cycle (1959); Insight and Responsibility (1964); The Life Cycle Completed: A Review (1982, revised 1996 by Joan Erikson); and Vital Involvement in Old Age (1989). Erikson's biography lists more books.

Various terms are used to describe Erikson's model, for example Erikson's biopsychosocial or bio-psycho-social theory (bio refers to biological, which in this context means life); Erikson's human development cycle or life cycle, and variations of these. All refer to the same eight stages psychosocial theory, it being Erikson's most distinct work and remarkable model.

The word 'psychosocial' is Erikson's term, effectively from the words psychological (mind) and social (relationships).

Erikson believed that his psychosocial principle is genetically inevitable in shaping human development. It occurs in all people.

He also referred to his theory as...
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