Erikson’s Theory in Psychosocial Development Stages

This article focuses on Erikson’s view of character development from childhood to adulthood in eight phases. Character development depends on life skills that could have positive and negative outcomes. The first stage is trust and mistrust; in this phase, an infant relies entirely on those taking care of them for their stability, as they are insecure. When the infants are given the right amount of care, they feel secure, hence developing confidence in forming relationships with other people as they perceive safety even when threatened. However, if those taking care of them are unreliable and inconsistent, the infant tends to develop mistrust and anxiety, which triggers them to lose confidence in the world around them.

Freedom versus doubt and shame; at this period, a child requires support and encouragement not to doubt their capabilities, focusing on independence. Moreover, this helps build their self-esteem and self-control as their actions are not being criticized. The third phase focuses on initiative versus guilt. This is the stage at which youngsters are involved in social interactions. The stage encompasses the child’s interconnection with other adolescents in the institution, which allows them to explore their social skills. Guilt develops in children if parents criticize or take too much control over the child’s life. This leads to the child being rebellious as they seek freedom. When a child passes this stage, they develop purpose, which results in responsibility if they fail.

Diligence counter inferiority is the fourth phase that focuses on how a child learns to read, write, and calculate. At this stage, a child spends most of the time with the teacher, who should be a source of inspiration to the child, motivating them to do it. Suppose a child is encouraged at this period; in that case, they develop confidence and competency to attain their goals. Failure to recognize a child’s capability leads to disembarking their full potential as they establish low self-esteem. The fifth phase is identifying versus role; it involves adolescents searching for their identity and sense of self to explore personal beliefs, values, and goals. The step is significant as it is their transition stage from childhood to adulthood as the youngster has to procure knowledge of how they will take up as grown-ups. Failure to establish their identity in this stage leads them to be confused about their capabilities.

Intimacy and isolation are the sixth stages in a person’s character development, and at this point, an individual develops affection for others. Successful execution of the scene leads to contentment, care, and safety in relationships. On the contrary, agitation of devotion and connection leads to misery and loneliness. The stage that occurs in the seventh position is generativity against stagnation. This is where people take the initiative of giving back to society. It takes a form where people participate in community activities, raising their children, and productivity at their work. A person is stagnant and unproductive if they do not bring a difference to the community. The eight-stage refers to ego integrity and despair; it is the stage where people reflect on their lives. Those that have progressed take time to celebrate themselves, while those that have not to live in anguish.

Erikson has used eight phases to describe character development in a life span. Moreover, he has proved that each stage is vital, as it encounters a person’s growth in terms of character. He has emphasized that each step is a remarkable advancement in a person’s life. He has also outlined both the positive and negative impacts of each phase. Erikson’s description of character development is visual, as one can speculate about them through their own experiences.

However, Erikson’s theory has just given detailed information on a person’s character development but has not provided a solution if someone skips a stage. Moreover, his theory has also failed to explain how character development takes place. For instance, he fails to explain how a particular background influences a person’s character later. Thus, Erikson’s theory can be assessed as a framework rather than an approach tested.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 21). Erikson's Theory in Psychosocial Development Stages. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 21). Erikson's Theory in Psychosocial Development Stages.

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"Erikson's Theory in Psychosocial Development Stages." PsychologyWriting, 21 Sept. 2023,


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Erikson's Theory in Psychosocial Development Stages'. 21 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Erikson's Theory in Psychosocial Development Stages." September 21, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Erikson's Theory in Psychosocial Development Stages." September 21, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Erikson's Theory in Psychosocial Development Stages." September 21, 2023.