Read through the psychosocial stages of development and learn how an individual grows to be a successful and competent human being.

Psychosocial Stages Of Development

It is quite fascinating to grasp and understand how a person grows into an individual with a set of responsibilities from infancy to adulthood. This developmental process in a human being is explained and defined by many psychoanalysts and social scientists. One such definition comes from a Danish-German-American developmental psychologist Erik Erikson. Erikson is famous for his theory on the stages of psychosocial development in a person. Erikson’s theory holds and explains eight stages of development through which an individual passes, namely from infancy to late adulthood. These stages defined by Erikson throw new challenges for an individual which he/she hopefully masters towards the next stage of development. Each stage depends on the successful completion of the previous stages, and if a person fails to master a particular stage, then he/she might experience problems in later stages. Let us discuss in detail Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development here in the sections to follow.

Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages Of Development 

Basic Trust Vs Mistrust
This is the stage which starts with the birth of the child when he/she has no knowledge of the world and is completely dependent on his/her parents, especially the mother. The parents become the basis of their existence and it is the type of environment they are brought up in, which influence their behaviour later in life. This is a stage where the child develops the value of hope and learns to love and trust people because of the loving and caring environment the child receives. This stage lasts till two years of age.

Autonomy Vs Shame And Doubt
The second stage in the psychosocial development of a person is when the dependent infant grows up into a toddler. This is the time when the child learns to move around freely, and with this freedom of movement he/she explores the things around them, make choices of food, toys, games etc. If the parents grant this freedom to their child and encourage their child’s independence, then the child will grow up to become a competent person. However, if parents become overprotective and keep a check on all the movements of the child, then the child will lack in confidence and competence to take risks in life.

Initiative Vs Guilt
This stage begins when a child turns 3 yrs of age and continues till the age of 5. This is the first social experience of the child where they attend pre-school and make friends, interact with them, and explore his/her power and control over peers while playing. This is the time when the child should be encouraged to socialize and stay in the social environment so that they can develop a sense of purpose to achieve something. This stage also develops the leadership quality in the kid, who if discouraged will lack these qualities and will find it guilty to take initiatives.

Industry Vs Inferiority
The fourth stage of development starts from 5 yrs of age and continues till the child is 13. This is the stage where children start attending school, experiences a greater degree of independence, start understanding and differentiating between people and cultures, learn reading, writing and presenting amidst other skills which they try to master. Children should get full support in this stage not only from their parents, but from their teachers also. They should be encouraged to participate, learn and take failures in a positive way and not get demotivated by them. If the kids don’t get enough support and guidance in this stage, it will affect their growth in later stages of development.

Identity Vs Role Confusion
This is the stage of adolescence and is the most crucial stage among all the stages of development. This is a stage where teenagers are confused because they are expected to act neither like kids nor like adults. This is a stage when the teenagers need to cope with his/her physical changes and understand gender roles. The teenagers in this stage try and develop their individuality in relationships, society, careers etc. They develop a sense of faithfulness and start attaching importance to relationships, especially friendship. The parents in this stage needs to be very careful in handling the behavioural changes of the growing teenagers for them to grow into confident and responsible individuals.

Intimacy Vs Isolation
This stage encompasses people between the age group of 20-40. This is the stage where a person becomes an adult, has his/her own identity and is ready to share their sense of identity with others by forming intimate relationships based on love and commitment. The environment in the previous stages has a great role to play in judging a person’s behaviour in this stage. A person who is scared of commitment and intimacy will stay isolated and depressed.

Generativity Vs Stagnation
This stage is totally dependent on the success of the other stages of development. This is the stage when the person is in the middle of adulthood and has his/her set career and family. This is the stage where a person learns to care for others and give back to the society what he/she has received from it. If people fail to achieve this sense of care, they get stagnated and experience a life without any meaning to it.

Ego Integrity Vs Despair
This is the last stage in the stages of psychosocial development where a person’s ego identity is fully developed. This is a stage where a person reflects back on his/her life and analyzes the achievements and failures. If a person has achieved success in all the earlier stages he/she develops a sense of integrity and wisdom. However, if a person has experienced failures then he/she develops a sense of despair for his/her life.

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