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Erikson's Eight Stages Of Life

Erik Erikson created his Theory of Psychosocial Development by extending ideas and thoughts of development from Sigmund Freud. This theory has eight stages that an individual goes through. When an individual successfully completes each stage, they have a healthy personality. However, failure to complete stages result in the lack of ability to continue to the next stage.

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Stage 1: Trust vs Mistrust

Age: Infant - 18 months

Description: Infants have to learn how to trust people, especially individuals that take care of their basic needs. Depending on the situation, if an infant is treated well, receiving their basic needs, and have a sense of security, they will learn to trust people around them. However, if an infant is being neglected and mistreated then the child will have a hard time trusting people.

Consequences: Hope or Fear

Stage 2: Autonomy vs Shame & Doubt

Age: 18 months - 3 years

Description: At this stage, children begin to learn on how to take care of themselves (feeding and changing clothes). When a child is unable to do this and are depending on other individuals to take care of them, they begin to feel shameful of themselves when seeing other children their age being capable of doing this.

Consequences: Self-Control or Self-Doubt

Stage 3: Initiative vs Guilt

Age: 3 - 5 years

Description: Children begin to explore activities that they are capable of doing. They are entering a schooling system (preschool & kindergarten) and learning life lessons. Children attempt to take initiative in what they do. When parents prevent children from trying new activities and control their behavior, children feel a sense of guilt.

Consequences: Responsibility or Unworthiness

Stage 4: Industry vs Inferiority

Age: 5 - 13 years

Description: Children are learning how to read and write, do mathematics, and are now capable of doing tasks on their own. Children are attempting to receive approval from peers and society. When children are supported in doing what they enjoy, they are more confident in achieving goals. However, if children do not succeed (losing a basketball game), they begin to feel inferior to their peers.

Consequences: Competency or Incompetency

Stage 5: Identity vs Role Confusion

Age: 13 - 21 years

Description: In this stage, the individual is supposed to develop their sexual identity. It is important for them to understand their own identity and what role they play in society. Many individuals in this stage go through a crisis because they are transitioning into adulthood. A person in this stage may feel confused or uncertain about doing specific activities because they do not know if it is age appropriate. There is a pressure for the individual to act and feel a certain way.

Consequences: Fidelity or Uncertainty

Stage 6: Intimacy vs Isolation

Age: 21 - 39 years

Description: Individuals in this stage are seeking relationships (intimate and friends). This stage can be difficult for many people because they go from consistently having friends during their teens and early 20's but begin to seek meaningful and lifelong intimate relationships. This is scary for people because they do not want to feel lonely (isolated).

Consequences: Love or Promiscuous

Stage Seven: Generativity vs Stagnation

Age: 40 - 65 years

Description: Adults find meaning and purpose in the work that they do. They feel that they will leave a legacy in society. Individuals that do not leave behind something impactful feel that they were an unproductive member of society.

Consequences: Caring or Selfishness

Stage 8: Ego Integrity vs Despair

Age: 65 and older

Description: Individuals in this stage have generally retired from their profession. These people want to feel fulfillment from their accomplishments and are content with what their life. When someone feels that they have not done much with their life then they experience a sense of despair.

Consequences: Wisdom or Meaninglessness

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