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Erik Erikson and his Developmental Stages

Erik Erikson was a developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his Stages of Psychosocial Development and for coining the term identity crisis. His theory on the psychosocial development of man- covering eight stages throughout the lifespan- is one of the theoretical bases for mental health nursing.

Dubbed as the Psychosocial Model, Erik Erikson's theory on personality postulates that although an individual has inborn traits, personality also develops from psychologic and social influences. Other characteristics are acquired and learned as he or she goes through the eight (8) developmental stages from infancy to late adulthood. Each stage has an accompanying developmental task which is marked by conflict and the resolution of the conflict prepares the individual for the next stage. To be fully developed, according to Erikson, every human being has to successfully go through each developmental stage.

Successful resolution of the conflict in each developmental stage results in favorable outcomes. For example, in the 4th developmental stage, if the conflict of Industry vs Inferiority is resolved by the school-aged child, the favorable outcome is that the child becomes creative and develops sense of competency. The favorable outcomes with the corresponding developmental stage in which they may be acquired are:
  1. Trust vs Mistrust--> individual learns to trust self and others
  2. Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt--> individual learns self-control
  3. Initiative vs Guilt--> individual learns to influence the environment and evaluate own behavior
  4. Industry vs Inferiority--> individual develops sense of competency
  5. Identity vs Role Confusion--> individual develops a sense of self and is able to prepare or plan for adult roles
  6. Intimacy vs Isolation--> individual develops intimate relationships with another and is able to show commitment to career
  7. Generativity vs Stagnation--> individual becomes productive and is able to show concern and interest for others
  8. Integrity vs Despair--> individual is able to sustain relationships and finds meaning in his or her life; has come to accept the reality of death
Although born in Frankfurt, Erik Erikson migrated to the United States with his wife and became the first child psychoanalayst in Boston. He was a well-known clinician and held esteemed positions at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Psychological Clinic, Yale University, and University of California at Berkeley.

In 1994, twenty-four years after his retirement, Erik Homburger Erikson died in Massachusetts at the age of 92.

Related Download:
Erikson's Psychosocial Stages of Development (NEW)

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