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Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development b.ed notes


Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development ( Psychosocial Development Theory of Erikson)

Erikson's theory of psychosocial development holds a special place in psychology's personality theories. Like Freud, Erikson believes in sequential stages of personality development of the child. But he was not limited to Freud's psychosexual states, rather he propounded a better theory by including the social experiences of a person throughout his life in his personality theory. 

In this theory, Erikson has mentioned the stages of a person's entire life span, so some psychologists have also named this theory as Life-span development theory.

Erikson believes that at each stage of development, individuals experience conflicts, which are called crisis situations. This psychosocial challenge makes him stand at the turning point where he has to decide the direction of his development by taking appropriate decisions. If he emerges from this dilemma and is able to find an acceptable solution, he develops a positive psychosocial trait and if he fails to come out of this dilemma, he develops a negative psychosocial trait. social trait).


Erikson's theory of Psychosocial Development

Erikson has divided the entire life span into eight stages from the point of view of development The sequential description of all these stages is given below:

Basic Trust vs Mistrust

This is the first psychosocial stage of a child's development which lasts from birth to 18 months.

This stage is the basic stage of the child's development. Because in this stage the child is totally dependent on the caregivers. If the child gets full love and security from the caring parents, siblings and other relatives, then a sense of confidence is awakened in him and if they ignore him seeing him crying and crying, then the child Mistrust develops towards them. 

A person experiencing trust feels safe, secure and safe in the world while a child with mistrust, on the other hand, remains fearful and suspicious of others. 

When both faith and disbelief arise together and create a crisis situation for the child, then he gets confused. A child who successfully resolves this crisis develops a special kind of Psychosocial strength develops which Erikson termed as hope . This hopeful child becomes a person with faith in cultural and social values and religious beliefs when he becomes an adult.

Autonomy Vs Shame and Doubt

This second stage of psychosocial development 18 months to 3 year. 

In this stage the child focuses more on controlling his own behavior. Like Freud, Erikson also considers toilet-training important at this stage. But Erikson's thinking was different from Freud's.


They believe that when a child learns to control his bodily functions, he develops a sense of self reliance. Apart from this, the child can eat food of his choice, Learns to choose toys and clothes.

So in this state they do not want to depend on others. 

In this stage, parents should provide opportunities to children to do their work on their own, but in some families, children are bullied and bullied for doing small and big work, due to which they doubt their ability and do simple things. Hesitates even to work with. 

When the child is successful in resolving the autonomy versus hesitation and doubt conflict, then the psychosocial power that emerges in his conscience is known aslt is called will power. 

Willpower helps the child to act independently, to choose things of his choice and to exercise self control. The children who do not emerge from the above mentioned crisis, feel a sense of inadequacy and doubt in their ability, due to which they are afraid to take decisions independently in doing any work.

Initiative vs Guilt

This third stage of psychosocial development of the child is from 3 years to 5 years.

It is the period of pre-school or early childhood in which the child tries to exert his power and show his dominance to others through play or interaction. He starts taking initiative in performing various activities and shows curiosity to know about the things found in the surrounding environment, hence he has an exploratory tendency during this period. 

That is, he wants to get more and more information. If the child's parents show indifference towards this trend or discourage him by punishing him, then he suffers from Guilt feeling. And hesitates to initiate any work. 

If the child succeeds in getting out of the dilemma of initiative versus guilt, then he develops a psychosocial quality called purpose. (Psychosocial Trait) arises which motivates him to do goal oriented behavior.


Therefore, parents should satisfy the curiosity of the children and motivate them to take initiative in completing the tasks.

Industry Vs. Inferiority

This fourth stage of psychosocial development lasts from the early school years to approximately 5 to 12 years of age. 

When children take initiative and experience success in interactions and other activities, they take pride in their abilities and more enthusiastically use their abilities and skills in new areas. If they get encouragement from parents and teachers for this work, then they become industrious . 

If the challenges in front of the child are so difficult that he fails to overcome them, then there is inferiority in him.The feeling of develops.

Therefore, he starts running away from working hard. Teachers, parents and classmates should encourage the child by encouraging him for the hard work done by him.

According to psychologists, apart from intelligence, aptitude and family background, hard work is the only factor which helps in achieving success in his educational professional and personal adjustment, economic progress and interpersonal relations.

The child who is successful in solving the crisis of diligence versus inferiority, develops an ability called competence, which develops self confidence in him to face the environmental conditions.

Identity vs Role Confusion or Diffusion

This fifth stage of psychosocial development lasts from 12 to 19 years.

This stage is called adolescence. According to Erikson, adolescents in this stage begin to oppose the values, restrictions and interference in their personal lives imposed by their parents because they want to establish their identity in the family and society. 

If a teenager adopts someone else's ideology, then he gets less satisfaction than if he makes his identity different. 

In this stage the adolescent tries to know "Who am I?", "Where am I going?" , "What do I want to become?". Now he shows his commitment to religious, moral and life values, life-philosophy and professional goals. A teenager with a healthy identity is able to show his worth by exploring in some new areas


If the adolescent successfully resolves the crisis of identity versus confusion, he develops a psychosocial quality called fidelity, which motivates the adolescent to follow social values, ideals, and rules.

Intimacy vs Isolation

This is the sixth stage of psychosocial development which lasts from 20 years to 40 years of age. 

This stage is called the early adulthood of a person, in which he is looking to establish his relations with others. If a person is successful in establishing good relations with others and receives positive response from other people, then there is an intimacy in him. 

The sense of identity develops, but the people who are not able to be more successful in making identity in their society, they are not able to have close relations with other people and they suffer from emotional isolation, loneliness and depression. 

Affection is found in those who successfully resolve the crisis of intimacy versus alienation that comes in this stage. The psychosocial trait called, develops, which motivates him to have a sense of commitment, honesty and dedication towards others. Those who are not successful in this struggle are unable to get the love of others and get isolated from the society. Erikson is of the opinion that a strong sense of personal identity is essential for establishing intimate relationships.

Generativity vs Stagnation

This is the seventh stage of psychosocial development which lasts from 40 years to 65 years of age. 

This is the middle adulthood of the person. In this stage, he wants to do some work for himself, his family and the society, which creates such a product or creation, which is beneficial for the next generation. 

Erikson termed this feeling of the individual as generativity .The teacher and the family members who are alert and concerned about the future of the children this sense of procreation motivates them to do so. 

People who consider themselves successful in this stage think that they are contributing to the welfare of the world by being active in their family and society. Those who fail to acquire the skill of this type of reproductive sense, a feeling arises in them that they remain indolent and cannot do anything for the next generation. This type of feeling is called Stagnation by Erikson.


Individuals who successfully resolve the conflict of fertility versus stability develop a psychosocial capacity, which Erikson calls care.

Integrity Vs Despair

This is the eighth and final stage of psychosocial development which lasts from the age of 65 till death. This condition is called old age. 

In this state, a person focuses more on his past than present and future and assesses his successes, achievements and failures. Those who suffer from the feeling of failure in life, they think that our life has been wasted and they repent in many ways. They suffer from the bitterness of life's failures and feelings of despair. 

On the other hand, people who feel satisfaction thinking about their successes and achievements have integrity. The sense of self develops, that is, they consider their life meaningful. When a person successfully resolves the conflict of fulfillment versus frustration, he develops a special psychosocial capacity called maturation. This type of person showing wisdom even till death, lives with a sense of satisfaction.


Educational psychologists have considered Erikson's theory very important in understanding the stages of development of children and adolescents and in explaining the qualities and abilities that develop in these stages. 

But some psychologists have criticized Erikson's theory of psychosocial development saying that it is not justified to divide different stages of development with so much rigidity because the development of different qualities is different in different individuals due to other individual differences. Does not happen in the same condition.