Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development


Erikson’ developmental model claims psychosocial development is a series of psychosocial crises which individuals must successfully resolve as they mature.

Of prime importance to resolve these conflicts is what adults, who care for children, do as they interact with them and suggest and schedule interactions with other children, adults, and media.

Maturation occurs as each individual progresses from one stage to the next.

Stage Approximate Age Crisis
Infancy birth - 18 months Trust vs. mistrust

Stage Approximate Age Crisis
Early childhood 10 mo. - 3 years Autonomy Vs doubt

A child becomes an independent self. Play is important as a means for developing autonomy, learning about other children and adults, rules and laws are important as social order.


Stage Approximate Age Crisis
Middle childhood 3-6 years Initiative Vs guilt

Children are increasingly able to care for themselves and their possessions. Develop the ability to realize that others may be in opposition to their behavior. Guilt may result in resolution of the conflict. Play can be categorized in two general forms:

  1. Solitary and dreaming and
  2. Interaction with others in the form of enacting life.

These enable them to think about their future as well as their present roles.


Stage Approximate Age Crisis
Late childhood 7-11 years Industry Vs inferiority

Children at this age are determined to master tasks. Learn to work together with others for a common goal. Are constantly engaged in activities that allow them to practice. Their being successful results in industry, or failure results in inferiority.


Stage Approximate Age Crisis
Adolescents 12-20 years Identity Vs role diffusion

Search for identity is linked to becoming a person with identity. Identity linked to a cultural, personalities, and a community (families, groups, sports, gangs...)


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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