Erikson Theory has eight distinct stages, each with two possible outcomes. According to the
theory, successful completion of each stage results in a healthy personality and successful
interactions with others .Failure to successfully complete a stage can result in a reduced ability to
complete further stagesand therefore a more unhealthy per sonality and sense of self. These
stages, however, can be resolved successfully at a later time.
Trust Versus Mistrust (birth – 1 year)
Is the world a safe place or is it full of unpredictable events and accidents waiting to happen
upon reading Mr. Erikson jornels he claimed that in this stage the child will develop a sense of
basic trust in the world and in his ability to affect events around him. development of this
depends on the consistency of the child??™s major caregiver. so If the care the child receives is
consistent, predictable and reliable then the child will develop a sense of trust which he will carry
with him to other relationships, and is able to feel secure even when threatened. so basciallyits
sayin in this stage Sucess will lead to hope.
on the other hand , if the care has been harsh or inconsistent, unpredictable and unreliable then
the child will develop a sense of mistrust and will not have confidence in the world around him
or he r in their abilities to influence events. even in relationships the child will carry the basic
sense of mistrust with him to other relationships. It may result in anxiety, heightened insecurities, and an over feeling of mistrust in the world around them.
2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (2 – 3 years)
The child is developing physically and becoming more mobile. Between the ages of one and
three, children begin to assert their independence, by walking away from their mother, picking
which toy to play with, and making choices about what they like to wear, to eat, etc.
Erikson says that this is the point at which the child can develop a certain amount of
independence/autonomy. It is at this stage that the child needs support from parents so that
repeated failures and ridicule are not the only experiences encountered. So, the parents need to
encourage the child to becoming more independent whilst at the same time protecting the child
so that constant failure is avoided. A delicate balance is required from the parent …. they must
try not to do everything for the child but if the child fails at a particular task they must not
criticize the child for failures and accidents poting training . The aim has to be ???self control
without a loss of self-esteemSuccess in this stage will lead to the virtue of will.
If children in this stage are encouraged and supported in their increased independence, they become more confident and secure in their own ability to survive in the world. If children are criticized, overly controlled, or not given the opportunity to assert themselves, they begin to feel inadequate in their ability to survive, and may then become overly dependent upon others, lack self-esteem, and feel a sense of shame or doubt in their own abilities.
3. Initiative vs. Guilt (3 – 5 years)
These are particularly lively, rapid-developing years in a child??™s life it is a ???time of vigor of
action and of behaviors that the parents may see as aggressive???. The child takes initiatives
which the parents will often try to stop in order to protect the child. The child will often overstep
the mark in his forcefulness and the danger is that the parents will tend to punish the child and
restrict his initiatives too much.
Around age three and continuing to age six, children assert themselves more frequently.
They begin to plan activities, make up games, and initiate activities with others. If given this
opportunity, children develop a sense of initiative, and feel secure in their ability to lead others
and make decisions. Conversely, if this tendency is squelched, either through criticism or
control, children develop a sense of guilt. They may feel like a nuisance to others and will
therefore remain followers, lacking in self-initiative.
It is at this stage that the child will begin to ask many questions as his thirst for knowledge
grows. If the parents treat the child??™s questions as trivial, a nuisance or embarrassing or other
aspects of their behavior as threatening then the child may have feelings of guilt for ???being a
nuisance???. Too much guilt can make the child slow to interact with others and may inhibit their
creativity. Some guilt is, of course, necessary otherwise the child would not know how to
exercise self control or have a conscience. A healthy balance between initiative and guilt is
important. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of purpose.
4. Industry (competence) vs. Inferiority (6 – 12 years)
Children are at the stage where they will be learning to read and write, to do sums, to make
things on their own. Teachers begin to take an important role in the child??™s life as they teach the
child specific skills. It is at this stage that the child??™s peer group will gain greater significance and
will become a major source of the child??™s self esteem. The child now feels the need to win
approval by demonstrating specific competences that are valued by society, and begin t
o develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments.
If children are encouraged and reinforced for their initiative, they begin to feel industrious and
feel confident in their ability to achieve goals. If this initiative is not encouraged, if it is restricted
by parents or teacher, then the child begins to feel inferior, doubting his own abilities and
therefore may not reach his potential.
If the child cannot develop the specific skill they feel society is demanding then they may
develop a sense of inferiority. Some failure may be necessary so that the child can develop
some modesty. Yet again, a balance between competence and modesty is necessary. Success
in this stage will lead to the virtue of competence.
5. Identity vs. Role Confusion (13 – 18 years)
During adolescence, the transition from childhood to adulthood is most important. Children are
becoming more independent, and begin to look at the future in terms of career, relationships,
families, housing, etc.
This is a major stage in development where the child has to learn the roles he will occupy as an
adult. It is during this stage that the adolescent will re-examine his identity and try to find out
exactly who he is. Erikson suggests that two identities are involved: the sexual and the
occupational. what should happen at the end of this stage is ???a reintegrated sense of self, of
what one wants to do or be, and of one??™s appropriate sex role???. During this stage the body
image of the adolescent changes.
Erikson claims that the adolescent may feel uncomfortable about their body for a while until they
can adapt and ???grow into??? the changes. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of fidelity.
During this period, they explore possibilities and begin to form their own identity based upon the
outcome of their explorations. This sense of who they are can be hindered, which results in a
sense of confusion (“I don??™t know what I want to be when I grow up”) about themselves and
their role in the world.
6. Intimacy vs. Isolation (young adulthood)
Occurring in Young adulthood, we begin to share ourselves more intimately with others. We
explore relationships leading toward longer term commitments with someone other than a family
member. Successful completion can lead to comfortable relationships and a sense of
commitment, safety, and care within a relationship. Avoiding intimacy, fearing commitment and
relationships can lead to isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression
7 Generativity vs. Stagnation (middle adulthood)
During middle adulthood, we establish our careers, settle down within a relationship, begin our
own families and develop a sense of being a part of the bigger picture. We give back to society
through raising our children, being productive at work, and becoming involved in community
activities and organizations. By failing to achieve these objectives, we become stagnant and feel
8. Ego Integrity vs. Despair (old age)
As we grow older and become senior citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity, and
explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments
and are able to develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life.
Erik Erikson believed if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our pasts, or feel that
we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair,
often leading to depression and hopelessness
I choose Ego intergity versus despair
It mean coming to term with life therefore coming to terms with the end of death.
Despair means when older people become preocupied with past experiences, more on
This phase occurs during old age and is focused on reflecting back on life.
Those who are unsuccessful during this stage will feel that their life has been wasted and will
experience many regrets. The individual will be left with feelings of bitterness and despair.
Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully
completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction.
These individuals will attain wisdom, even when confronting death.
Malignancy vs. Maladaptation Malignancy ;too much despair and the malignant
tendency is called “disdain” . This person is preoccupied with past falures &
mistakes. Usually losing interest in life, and act as if they dont care for thier life anymore. The
person will become depressed, Can cause some to become spiteful and paranoid.
Maladaptation too much Ego integrity” the maladaptive tendency is called
This person will presume that life is great not acknowledging the difficulties of old age.
This person will often try to act young to avoid facing the reality of being
elderly. avoid difficulties that come with old age. A good balance of maladapation and
malignancy equals a great value of wisdom When an individual is somewhat ” gifted
” to be truly wise, is having a great understanding on why you did the things you did and
accepting the outcome. Having a positive outlook in life, and also accepting death when slowly
approaches . Although we are not elders yet, we will in fact one day go through the battle
between integrity vs. despair. We cannot yet say exactly what attitude we will adapt. All we
can do is hope for proper wisdom. And do our best not to develop presumptuous and
disdainful outlooks on life. Unlike many elders we know, we should come to terms with our life
, past regrets-mistakes and all.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I choose this because it can related to the deveoplement theory i choose because this was a
extraodinary film diary recounts his entire extraordinary life, the primary unusual aspect of
which was his aging backwards, being diagnosed with several aging diseases at birth and thus
given little chance of survival, but who does survive and gets younger with time. Abandoned by
his biological father, Thomas Button, after Benjamins biological mother died in childbirth,
Benjamin was raised by Queenie, a black woman and caregiver at a seniors home. Daisys
grandmother was a resident at that home, which is where she first met Benjamin. Although
separated through the years, Daisy and Benjamin remain in contact throughout their lives
I agree with the conclusion on the theory Ego Integrity vs. Despair (old age) because
The most important event at this stage is coming to accept ones whole lifeand reflecting on that
life in a positive manner
Elements for a positive outcome:
The adult feels a sense of fulfillment about life and accepts death as anunavoidable reality.
Elements for a negative outcome:
Individuals who are unable to obtain a feeling of fulfillment andcompleteness will despair and fear death.
An aged person may find it necessary to reflect and analyze what they haveaccumulated
throughout life and decide what offspring will receive from themupon death.