Erikson and Psychosocial Development
Erik H, Erikson (1902-1994) drew from Freud’s theory and identified eight psychosocial stages of development. According to Erikson (1980/1959), each stage is accompanied by a crisis or potential crisis that involves transitions in social relationships:
1. Trust versus mistrust (birth to age one). If infants receive good care and nurturing (characterized by emotional warmth, security, and love) from their parents, they will develop a sense of trust. If they do not receive such care, they will become mistrustful and anxious about their surroundings.
2. Autonomy IIs Versus Shame and doubt (aged one to three). As children gain a feeling of control over their behavior and develop a variety of physical and mental abilities/they begin to assert their independence. If allowed to explore their environment, children will grow more autonomous. If parents disapprove of or discourage them, children will begin to doubt their abilities.
3. Initiative versus guilt (age three to five). If parents encourage initiative during this stage. children will develop a sense of initiative. If parents make children feel that their actions are bad or that they are a nuisance, children may develop a strong sense of guilt.
4. Industry versus inferiority (age six to eleven). At this stage, children want to manipulate objects and learn how things work. Adults who encourage children’s efforts and praise the results-both at home and at school-produce a feeling of industry in children. Feelings of inferiority result when parents or teachers appear to view children’s efforts as silly or as a nuisance.
5. Identity versus role conjusion (age twelve to eighteen). During this stage, adolescents attempt to develop a sense of identity. As young people take on new roles. the new roles must be combined with the old ones to create a strong self-identity. Role confusion results when individuals fail to acquire an accurate sense of personal identity.
6. Intimacy versus isolation (age eighteen to thirty five). The challenge of this stage (which covers courtship and early family life) is to develop close and meaningful relationships. If individuals establish successful relationships, intimacy ensues. If they fail to do so, they may feel isolated.
7. Generality versus transcriptional (age thirty-five to fifty-five).Generality means looking beyond oneself and being concerned about the n0.1 generation and the future of the world in general. Self-absorbed people may be preoccupied with their own well-being and material gains or be overwhelmed by stagnation, boredom, and interpersonal Impoverishment,
8. Integrity versus despair (maturity and old age). Integrity results when individuals have resolved previous psycho social crises and are able to look back at their life as having been meaningful and personally filtering. Despair results when previous crises remain unresolved and individuals view their life as a series of disappointments, failures, and misfortunes. life course. The psycho social approach encompasses the conflicts that coincide with major changes in a person’s social environment and describes how satisfactory resolution of these conflicts results in positive development.
For example, if adolescents who experience an identity crisis are able to determine who they are and what they want from life, they may be able to achieve a positive self-identity and acquire greater psychological distance from their parents. Critics have pointed out that Erikson’s research was limited to white, middle-class respondents from industrial societies (Slugoski and Ginsburg, 1989). However, other scholars have used his theoretical framework to examine racial-ethnic variations in the process of psychosocial development. Most of the studies have concluded that all children face the same developmental tasks at each stage but that children of color often have greater difficulty in obtaining a positive outcome because of experiences with racial prejudice and discrimination in society (Rotheram and Phinney, 1987). Although establishing an identity is difficult for most adolescents, one study found that it was especially problematic for children of recent Asian American immigrants who had experienced high levels of stress related to immigration (Huang and Ying, 1989).