Reflecting on Erik Erickson Personality Theory | Do My Homework

Erik Erickson was known to be a Neo-Freudian. He studied the eight stages involved in development. This led to his development of Erickson theory where the ego is part of the mind which gives coherence to experiences, conscious or unconscious. He concluded by the assertion of Sigmund Freud, that several aspects of the ego are unconscious. He later affirmed that ego had an overall unifying purpose that generates a consistent behavior as well as conduct. The development of the ego is therefore illustrated in Erikson’s psychosocial stages of the life cycle.

The development stages have a favorable outcome that is referred to as virtues. The fist stage signifies hope that is characterized by trust and mistrust. The second stage is a period of will envisioned by autonomy, shame as well as doubt. The third stage is the purpose stage where an initiative and guilt is developed. Competence, fidelity, love, caring as well as wisdom follows each other in the 4th, 5thm 6th, 7th and 8th stages in the respective order (Davis et al, 1995). The following paper is going to look into details upon the eight stages developed by Erik Erickson. Furthermore, researchers have made deliberations on the concept in regard to establishing the identity during the adolescence stage.

            1st Stage: Infancy: Birth-18 Months Old

This is the first stage of Erikson’s theory of development and occurs between the period of birth and one year of age. This is the most important stage in the life of a child. It is in this stage that children begin learning on trusting others. This will positively be achieved depending on the consistency of their care givers. If the child develops a trust in an individual, then the child will be in a situation where he or she can have confidence as well as security in the environment. The child does not feel threatened by the fact that they develop a sense of security. If in a period of development the child is subjected to different care givers, then the stage might be difficult to progress. This stage depends majorly on the quality of caregivers. A child will develop a sense of trust when the care givers

            2nd Stage:  Early Childhood, 18 Months to 3 Years

Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt: This psychosocial dilemma affects the children between ages two and three. It develops when children commence to be independence. This is evident in the way they make their own choices as in; to eat this or that, wandering away from their caregivers among others (Saibel, Pepper, & Down, 2001). If the child is psyched in what it does, it will get confidence in its choices and it’s endurance in humankind. On the other hand, if the child is intimidated or discouraged, they keep to themselves and they start to doubt their endurance in the world, and so they figure out that the only way to survive is by dependence, are free of self-motivation and are full of niggles of doubt in their own accomplishments. The children base their independence on their level of success. In short words, children at this stage should be allowed to ‘navigate’ this psychosocial stage and also there should be patience from the caregivers in little things that the child does (Saibel, Pepper, & Down, 2001). An example is by, let us assume whilst travelling, give the child ample time to tie the shoe laces.tieing the shoe laces for it because you are late, does it no good as it gets no confidence in what it should be doing on its own.

3rd Stage: Play Age, 3 to 6 Years

A person desires to copy what the adults do at this stage. At this stage, the children take the initiative to create play situations. At this life stage, the child is characterized with training on going to the toilets as well as developing muscular control. The basic virtue developed at this stage is purpose as well as direction. The child also develops a maladaptation of ruthlessness as well as inhibition.

Initiative vs. Guilt: It occurs between ages three to six. Here, the child mixes with the entire family. Hereby, and the child is at the preschool age. The child voices its command over the world by mixing up with the others and directing the games (Saibel, Pepper, & Down, 2001). It’s from that early stage they will exhibit leadership qualities. If a child does not go through this stage successfully, it’s left with doubt as in self-confidence. The child may feel like it’s a nuisance in the midst of the others and them won’t be leaders but rather disciples.

4th Stage: 6 to 12 Years

Industry vs. Inferiority: It occurs between seven and twelve years. This is the stage that the child interacts with the neighborhood and also peers at the school. When the children associate with the other agemate, it will tend to be proud of its triumphs (Saibel, Pepper, & Down, 2001). The children start ventures and are overconfident when they finish up successfully. If the children are encouraged in their projects, they will become innovative and self-assured in their ability to venture into goals. If the children are not encouraged, they underrate themselves and can’t become industrious.

5th Stage: 12 to 18 Years (Adolescence)

Identity vs. Role Confusion: It occurs to teenagers between twelve and eighteen years. This is steamed and powered by peers and role models. It’s where children cease being children and embrace adulthood (Sonderegger, 1998). The male teen will tend to view their mothers as housemaids and they dare their fathers. Girls hold commotions with their mothers and flirt with their fathers. Both boys and girls undergo symbolic rites and ceremonies. It’s at this stage that the teenagers will make out what they want to become in future (Sonderegger, 1998). At this stage, if they are motivated they will emerge strong in their self-confidence and how to depend on themselves. If they are discouraged they will have a misty future, a future of uncertainty. This is the stage referred to as the fidelity and devotion stage and where fanaticism and repudiation develops. It is also a sexual stage characterized with puberty and genitality.

6th Stage: 19 to 40 Years, Young Adulthood

Intimacy vs. Isolation: It occurs between the age of early 20s to late 20s (courting and early parenthood).It depends on partners and friends. It is at this stage that mostly the young adults start indulging in commitments and sexual relationships (intimacy).It is at this stage that they choose lovers and friends (Cramer, Flynn, & LaFave, 1997). It is at this stage that they will, sometimes, avoid intimacy due to the phobia of immaturity or commitment which may eventually lead to depression. This stage is depicted as the love stage. A person shows signs of love and affiliation. The negative outcome in this stage includes Promiscuity as well as Exclusivity.

7th Stage: 40 to 65 Years, Middle Adulthood

Generativity vs. Stagnation: it occurs between late 20s to 50s.It is characterized by household and workmates. This is where the adults will plough back to the society by rearing children and featuring in organizations (Engler, 2009). If someone doesn’t accomplish that, there is despair and stagnation. They will try to go back into their youth lifestyles to compensate what they didn’t accomplish at that stage as in by: divorcing and hanging out singles bars, and wearing clothes that are worn by the youth. The basic virtue developed at this stage is care and production. A person can also illustrate overextension as well as rejectivity towards others. This stage seeks satisfaction through productivity in his or her career in terms of eth family or civic interest.

8th Stage: 65 to death, Maturity

Integrity vs. Despair: It occurs in 50s to old age. There are frequent illnesses such as arthritis, heart attacks, and ovarian cancers among others (Boeree, 2006). There is menopause in women. Many tend to view that their labor input is no longer required. Also it is at this stage that many people retire .It is at this stage that they become senile. There is resentment and desolation to those that have been unsuccessful in life. Those that have been successful will feel an aura of honor and few to regret about, and will have wisdom even though they are about to die (Boeree, 2006). At this stage, people are seen to develop wisdom and renunciation. The negative outcome at this stage involves presumption as well as disdain. The adult can therefore review life accomplishment and is able to deal with loss. The person gets to prepare for ultimate death.


The phases developed by Erikson and which have been illustrated below, are highly regarded. The theories outlined above are used as application involving personal awareness as well as positive growth. The analysis employed by Erikson’s concept took into considerations the cultural and social aspects into Freud’s biological and sexually oriented theory. It is therefore imperative to conclude that the theory asserts that people go through the eight stages known as the psychological crisis stages which ultimately affect the development and personality aspect in a human person (Engler, 2009). In each of the stages illustrated above, we find two opposing emotional forces which Erikson termed as contrary dispositions. A proper observation of Eric Erikson personality theory reveals a concept of positive development.


Boeree, G. (2006). Personality Theories: Erik Erikson 1902-1994. Retrieved May 2, 201, form

Cramer, C., Flynn, B., & LaFave, A. (1997). Erik Erikson 8 Stages of Psychosocial Development. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from

Davis, D., & Clifton, A. (1995). Psychosocial Theory: Erickson. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from

Engler, B. (2009). Personality Theories: An Introduction. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning

Saibel, C., Pepper, H., & Down, E. (2001). Development Correlates of Psychological Reactance. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 15, 23-74.

Sonderegger, T. (1998). Psychology. New York: Wiley Publishing Inc.


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