The Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development

Erik Erikson was a German American psychologist who is renowned for his psychosocial development theory of human beings. He coined the term identity crisis. The eight stages of psychosocial development given by Erikson are as follows:

  • Stage 1 – Infancy (Trust vs Mistrust)
  • Stage 2 – Toddlerhood (Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt)
  • Stage 3 – Preschool Years (Initiative vs Guilt)
  • Stage 4 – Early School Years (Industry vs Inferiority)
  • Stage 5 – Adolescence (Identity vs Role Confusion)
  • Stage 6 – Young Adulthood (Intimacy vs Isolation)
  • Stage 7 – Middle Adulthood (Generativity vs Stagnation)
  • Stage 8 – Late Adulthood (Integrity vs Despair)

Characteristics of Erikson’s Psychological Development

The characteristics of Erikson’s psychosocial development theory of social development are as follows:

  1. Erikson believed that human development takes place in a predetermined order which includes the eight stages of psychosocial development from infancy to adulthood.
  2. He maintains one can achieve a healthy personality only after they have completed the eight stages of psychosocial development.
  3. In each stage of psychosocial development, the individual goes through an identity crisis which can have a positive consequence or a negative consequence.
  4. Erikson’s theory believes that ego develops the ideas, skills, and attitudes of individuals during each developmental stage.
  5. According to Erikson’s psychosocial theory, humans learn a lot about themselves through others.
  6. Erikson’s psychosocial development takes place in eight stages and each stage involves two conflicting ideas that need resolution for a human’s proper development.
  7. Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development needs to be experienced sequentially for complete social development.


These are the major characteristics of Erikson’s psychosocial development theory of social development.