Erik Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development: The Eight Steps

Topics: Erik Erikson, Developmental psychology / Pages: 6 (1262 words) / Published: Jul 29th, 2010
Erik Erikson is best known for his stages of psychosocial development and identity crisis. Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is one of the best known theories of personality. Similar to Freud, Erikson believed that personality develops in a series of stages. Unlike Freud’s theory of psychosocial stages, Erikson’s theory describes the impact of social experiences across the whole lifespan.

Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development covered eight stages across the life span. Each stage involves what Erikson called a crisis in personality. These issues, Erikson believed was necessary and needed to be resolved for a healthy ego development. Each stage requires the balance of a positive tendency and a corresponding negative one. Erikson believed that the positive should dominate but also believed that some negativity was needed as well.

Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is important because of its emphasis on the importance of social and cultural influences and on the development after adolescence. Erikson’s model of psychosocial development basically tells us that life is a series of lessons and these lessons are essential. Development, Erikson, said that it functions by the epigenetic principle.

The principle says that we develop through a predetermined unfolding of our personality in eight stages. The stages or conflicts are: trust vs. mistrust; autonomy vs. shame doubt; initiative vs. guilt; industry vs. inferiority; identity vs. role confusion; intimacy vs. isolation; generativity vs. stagnation; and ego integrity vs. despair.

Our progress is determined by our success, or lack of success. For example, trust vs. mistrust, we need to learn mostly to trust; but we also need to have a much needed little trust, so we won’t be completely naïve or gullible. This explains what Erikson meant by a healthy dose of positive and negative tendencies.

In my own life experiences, I can best



Cited: Papalia,D; Wenkos-Olds,S; Duskin-feldman, R. (2009) Human Development, Eleventh Edition, Mcgraw-Hill Publishing Erikson,H E.; (1946) Identity and the Life Cycle W.W. Norton Publishing Eric Erikson- Theorist Psychology 412 Development Psychology

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