Erik Erikson's Stages

  • Basic Trust Versus Mistrust

    Infancy (Birth to Year One)
    According to Erikson most important period in a person's life
    During this stage, children learn whether or not they can trust the people around them. When the child's needs are met they learn trust and when they are not met they distrust.
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    Erikson's Psychosocial Stages

  • Autonomy versus Shame/Doubt

    Toddlerhood (One to Two Years)
    According to Erikson, children at this stage are focused on developing a greater sense of self control. An example of this self control is potty training, food choices and toy preferences and clothing selection. Children who complete this stage feel confident while those who do not complete this stage feel less confident in themselves.
  • Initiative versus Guilt

    Early Childhood (3 to 6 Years)
    Children begin to assert their power and control over the world through directing play and other social interactions. It is important for caregivers to encourage exploration and to help children make appropriate choices. Success leads to sense of purpose and failure results in a sense of guilt.
  • Industry versus Inferiority

    Late Childhood (6 years to Puberty)
    Children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments and their abilities. They become capable of performing increasingly complex tasks. If no encouragement is received children will doubt themselves. Success leads to competence while failure leads to feelings of inferiority.
  • Identity versus Role Confusion

    Adolescence (Teens into Twenties)
    Need to develop a sense of self and personal identity by exploring their independence. Teens may experiment with different roles, activities and behaviors. Those who remain unsure about their beliefs and desires will be insecure and confused about themselves.
  • Intimacy versus Isolation

    Young Adulthood (Twenties To Early Forties)
    During this period of time the major conflict centers on forming intimate loving relationships with other people. Erikson believed it was vital that people developed close committed relationships with others. Success leads to strong relationships while failure results in loneliness in isolation.
  • Generativity versus Stagnation

    Middle Adulthood (Forties to Sixties)
    Adults strive to create or nurture things that will outlast them often by having children or contributing changes that benefit other people. Generativity refers to making your mark on the world while stagnation refers to the failure to find a way to contribute. Success will equal being active in their home and community and failure leads to unproductiveness and not being involved in the world.
  • Integrity versus Despair

    Late Adulthood (Late Sixties and beyond)
    People reflect back on the life they have lived and come away with either a sense of fulfillment from a life well lived or sense of regret and despair over a life misspent. Those who are unsuccessful during this phase will fear that their life has been wasted and feel regrets. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a feeling satisfaction.