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The 8 Stages Of Psychosocial Development According To Erikson

Medically reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jun 03, 2022

    The 8 Stages Of Psychosocial Development According To Erikson

    Erik Erikson’s 8 stages of psychosocial development proposes that our personality is developed in sequenced stages. Essentially, these stages have conflicts or tasks. The way a child or adult handles the conflict will contribute to their ego outcome. How can parents use these 8 stages of development in child rearing? Find out here. 

    Erik Erikson’s 8 Stages of Psychosocial Development

    Erik Erikson, an ego psychologist, based his theory on Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual theory. According to him, these are the 8 stages of development: 

    Stage 1 – Trust vs. Mistrust (Birth to 18 Months)

    Reports say that during this period, an infant will learn to trust the world in general if it provides them with their basic needs

    Hence, the role of the mother or caregiver is very important because they are going to be the main provider of the baby’s needs (food, warmth, comfort, etc.)

    An important activity during this stage is feeding

    Stage 2 – Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (18 Months to 3 Years)

    In this stage, children begin to learn skills for themselves. They may not do it perfectly, but they begin to walk, talk, eat, choose things, etc. Even the act of saying “No!” becomes their way of exercising their will. 

    Handled well, the theory suggests that the child will learn to be independent or autonomous. But, when they are shamed or strongly reprimanded for doing things incorrectly, they may develop shame or doubt. 

    An important activity during this stage is toilet training

    Stage 3 – Initiative vs. Guilt (3 to 5 Years)

    At this point of Erikson’s 8 stages of development, children begin to become more independent, and thus, assertive. They copy adults and initiate situations like play pretend

    Handled well, this stage gives kids a sense of capability. When mismanaged, they might feel self-doubt or guilt. 

    Important activities at this stage include those that develop independence. 

    Stage 4 – Industry vs. Inferiority (6 to 12 Years)

    At this point, the child is already usually in school. They continue to master skills and learn new ones, helping them develop a sense of industry. 

    If kids have problems with their skills or competence, they might develop a sense of inferiority. 

    Parents are still important figures, but schoolmates, teachers, and the neighborhood now become important, too. Giving them encouragement helps at this stage. 

    At this stage, the parent’s guidance when it comes to school matters is crucial. 

    Stage 5 – Identity vs Confusion (12 to 18 Years)

    Up until this stage, the development is mostly about what the adults do for the kids. Now, what the child does takes the center stage. 

    The conflict or task in this period is to find their identity – separate from their parents, other family members, and peers. When they are unable to do this in the context of sex role, religion, politics, or occupation, they might develop role confusion. 

    At this point, parents must guide their children regarding their relationship with their peers

    Stage 6 – Intimacy vs Isolation (18 to 35 or 40 Years)

    The conflict at this stage is to develop satisfying relationships through romance or friendship. Handled well, the person will develop a deep sense of intimacy. When unsuccessful, they might develop isolation. 

    Stage 7 – Generativity vs. Stagnation (35 to 55 or 65 Years)

    At this stage, the goal is to produce things that can contribute to society and care for parents, kids, friends, etc. This, according to the 8 stages of development, is generativity.  When unable to get through this stage, the person may stagnate. 

    Stage 8 – Ego Integrity vs. Despair (55 or 65 and Up)

    The last of the 8 stages of development is about integrity – a sense of oneself and fulfillment. At this stage, the person can accept his or her life during reflection. If not, then they might experience despair. 


    Please remember that these 8 stages of development by Erikson is a theory. While you may use it as a guide for child rearing, please keep in mind that each child is special. If you have concerns about your child’s development, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with their pediatrician.

    Learn more about Parenting here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Dexter Macalintal, MD

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jun 03, 2022

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