What Is Erikson's Eight Stages Of Psychosocial Development?

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Erik Erikson was an ego psychologist who emphasized that the ego develops successfully as it resolves crises that pertain to social factors in nature. Erikson strongly believed that personality builds upon the stage before it, which is referred to as the epigenic principle (McLeod, 2013). His theory of psychosocial development includes eight stages wherein a person will face a crisis that pits psychological needs against societal needs. If a crisis is handled positively, the psychosocial development will be healthy whereas if the crisis is resolved negatively, the development will be impaired (Bernstein, 2016, p. 399). Each of Erikson’s eight stages presents a problem that must be resolved, and leaves the individual with a new personality trait. …show more content…
If a child is not able to create an identity for himself, he will have a constant loss of direction for the rest of his life and will struggle with the remaining crises. In this stage, adolescents either form an identity and see themselves as unique individuals with a purpose in society or will be confused about their identity (“Erikson’s Stages,” 2016). Adolescents in this stage begin to ask themselves what they want to be when they grow up and who they are in regards to their beliefs, religion, and goals. Identity formation is the central task of adolescents and the events that take place within the later years of adolescence trigger an identity crisis. An identity crisis is a phase in which adolescents attempt to become unique individuals by using self-knowledge acquired during their younger years (Bernstein, 2016, p. 411). Adolescents may experiment with different lifestyles such as trying out various occupations or taking different classes in order to learn more about themselves and create an identity based off of their findings (McLeod, 2013). For example, a teenager may decide that they want to job shadow a dentist because they are interested in that occupation, but he or she’s parents may deny that decision and tell their child that they have to become a doctor just like the rest of the family. The teenager would be succumbing to their …show more content…
Around this time, careers are set, relationships are settled, and the bigger picture comes into play (McLeod, 2016). If adults choose to raise and care for children, are an asset at work, and are involved in their community, they are experiencing generativity. Adults can also experience stagnation if they choose not to partake in the community or have children; these people tend to be selfish and feel as though they are not leaving a meaningful mark on the world (“Erikson’s Stages,” 2016). For example, an adult who decides not to have children and sits on the couch all day drinking soda has no interest in productivity or self-improvement, resulting in stagnation because they aren’t concerned with leaving a meaningful or lasting mark on the world (“Erikson’s Stages,” 2016). The degree to which individuals care about themselves, their families, their jobs, and their communities influences whether they will experience generativity or

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