Stage Theories

Erikson believed that personality develops in a series of stages. Unlike Freud’s theory of psychosexual stages, Erikson’s theory describes the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan. Psychosocial Stage 1 – Trust vs. Mistrust -Because an infant is utterly dependent, the development of trust is based on the dependability and quality of the child’s caregivers. -If a child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and secure in the world.

Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or rejecting contribute to eelings of mistrust in the children they care for. Failure to develop trust will result in fear and a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable. -Of course, no child is going to develop a sense of 100 percent trust or 100 percent doubt. Erikson believed that successful development was all about striking a balance between the two opposing sides.

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When this happens, children acquire hope, which Erikson described as an openness to experience tempered by some wariness that danger may be present. Psychosocial Stage 2 – Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt Children who successfully complete this stage feel secure and confident, while those who do not are left with a sense of inadequacy and self-doubt. Erikson believed that achieving a balance between autonomy and shame and doubt would lead to will, which is the belief that children can act with intention, within reason and limits.

Psychosocial Stage 3 – Initiative vs. Guilt Children who are successful at this stage feel capable and able to lead others. Those who fail to acquire these skills are left with a sense of guilt, self-doubt, and lack of initiative. When an ideal balance of individual initiative and a willingness to work ith others is achieved, the ego quality known as purpose emerges. Psychosocial Stage 4 – Industry vs. Inferiority Through social interactions, children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments and abilities.

Children who are encouraged and commended by parents and teachers develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills. Those who receive little or no encouragement from parents, teachers, or peers will doubt their abilities to be successful. Psychosocial Stage 5 – Identity vs. Contusion During adolescence, children explore their independence and develop a sense of self. Those who receive proper encouragement and reinforcement through personal exploration will emerge from this stage with a strong sense of self and a feeling of independence and control.

Those who remain unsure of their beliefs and desires will feel insecure and confused about themselves and the future. Psychosocial Stage 6 – Intimacy vs. Isolation This stage covers the period of early adulthood when people are exploring personal relationships. Successful resolution of this stage results in the virtue known as love. It is marked by the ability to form lasting, meaningful relationships with other people. Psychosocial Stage 7 – Generativity vs. Stagnation During adulthood, we continue to build our lives, focusing on our career and family.

Those who are successful during this phase will feel that they are contributing to the world by being active in their home and community. Those who fail to attain this skill will feel unproductive and uninvolved in the world. Psychosocial Stage 8 – Integrity vs. Despair 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 xperience 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. Kohlber and Erikson are educational psychologists. Erikson believes that the individual goes through various crises as he develops. Kohlber believed that people develop through stages and the development was influenced by morals.


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