What was Erik Erikson's theory about?


Quick Answer

Erik Erikson's theory of development states that each stage of life has a psychological struggle associated or attached to it. Erickson identified eight different stages that an individual goes through in their life. These stages often have Erikson's theory and work compared to that of Sigmund Freud.

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Full Answer

The stages that Erikson identified start with Trust vs. Mistrust. This occurs in the first year of development and involves trust being built through nurturing, though if this trust isn't built during this time the theory states that it can affect a child's self-confidence and make them withdrawn.

The second stage, Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt, occurs from ages 2 to 3. It builds on the first stage, but is very dependent on how a child is corrected and taught to handle making a mistake.

Initiative vs. Guilt is the third stage and occurs between 4 and 5 years of age. This stage is a lot of building on responsibility and not accomplishing whatever the child's goal was.

Industry vs. Inferiority is the stage between the age of 6 and puberty. The child is exposed to school, other children and new authority figures which create new learning experiences for the child.

The following stages, Intimacy vs. Isolation, Generativity vs. Stagnation and Integrity vs. Despair, are all related to young and late adulthood and the development of the self, then looking back on life to evaluate what kind of life was led.

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