Psychosocial development is the mental development of a person along with his social development which is organized within the individual as a result of interaction with the social environment.
Psychologist Eric Erickson is the proponent of the theory of psychosocial development. Erickson spoke the importance of the social environment, in the development of the individual. According to Erickson, development of an individual is the result of his interaction with the social environment. The social development of a person starts from his birth and it puts him under certain pressure or conflict. Erickson called this pressure or conflict as Crisis. These crises occur at different stages of human life development depending on certain needs. Each person tries to fulfill his or her specific needs and try to solve crises by responding psychologically in his or her own way.
But, the complexity of society’s needs is gradually increasing. As a result, children at every stage of development are facing new crises. This is a problem and the problem need to solve at each certain stage of development. If it is not possible to solve the problem or crisis at each certain stage of development, then as a result more crises will develop in the next life.
Erickson has discovered eight such life problems or crises at different ages or stages of a person’s life development. He has linked those problems or crises to the eight stages of a person’s lifelong psycho-social development.
Table of Contents
STAGES OF A PERSON’S PSYCHO-SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT:
The eight stages of a person’s psycho-social development are –
1) Trust Vs Mistrust (Birth to 18 months),
2) Autonomy Vs Shame and Doubt (18 months to 3 years),
3) Initiative Vs Guilt (3 years to 6 years),
4) Industry Vs Inferiority (6 years to 12 years),
5) Identity Vs Role Confusion (12 years to 20 years),
6) Intimacy Vs Isolation (Early Adulthood – 20 years to 45 years),
7) Generativity Vs Stagnation (Middle Adulthood – 45 years to 65 years),
8) Ego Integrity Vs Despair (Later Adulthood – 65 years onwards).
1) Trust Vs Mistrust (Birth to 18 months):-
The first stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development is the stage of Trust Vs Mistrust. The span of this stage is from birth to 18 months of age. At this stage children are completely dependent on their mother or caregiver or the people around them. Because at this time they are the one who fulfill all the needs of the children. During this time they nurture, manage, protect children and keep them safe and comfortable. As the mothers or the caretakers of the children or the people around the children fulfill all the needs of the children at this stage, a feeling of trust develops to them in the children at this time.
But, on the other hand, if the mother or the caretaker or the people around the children cannot fulfill the needs of the children, then at this stage a feeling of mistrust to them will develop in the children. This is the essence of this stage. For this reason this stage of psychosocial development is called the stage of Trust Vs Mistrust.
2) Autonomy Vs Shame and Doubt (18 months to 3 years):-
The second stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development is the stage of autonomy versus shame and doubt. The span of this stage is from the age of 18 months to 3 years. Children come to this stage with their initial confidence or a sense of trust and security to their environment. At this stage children acquire some linguistic skills along with their motor skills or physical skills. As a result, a sense of independence develops in children at this level. Due to this reason at this stage children want to explore the environment through activities like walking, running as well as dragging and handing over various objects of their environment. Every parent in this situation should encourage their children. Encouragement from parents helps to build autonomy in their child.
But if parents prevent their children from exploring the environment, a feeling of shame and doubt will develop in the children at this time.
3) Initiative Vs Guilt (3 years to 6 years):-
The third stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development is the stage of initiative versus Guilt. The span of this stage is from 3 years of age to 6 years of age. At this stage children begin to take initiative by interacting with their environment. At this time they are involved in different planning and managing activities. The behaviors that children do during this time also include risky behaviors. For example – Children want to cross the road alone. If the initiative taken by the child is encouraged by the parents or guardians, it goes a long way in developing the child’s ability to start planning and carry out these activities later in life.
But, if the child’s parents or guardians discourage them from taking the initiative because of their lack of faith in them, or if they are dragged down by unhealthy criticism, punishment or reprimand for minor failures, a sense of guilt develops in them. As a result, hesitation, indecision is seen in children and besides this a lack of initiative in planning and managing life also seen among them. This is why children fail to take initiative at the right time and make mistakes in planning and managing its activities. This guilt is harmful to the child’s personality development.
So, at this stage of psycho-social development, it is necessary to solve the feeling of guilt or, the crisis of initiative versus guilt. This will be possible if we allow the child to experiment with his entrepreneurial activities through proper management and guidance and encourage him to develop the habit of self-assessment with the results of his initiative.
4) Industry Vs Inferiority (6 years to 12 years):-
The fourth stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development is the stage of Industry Vs Inferiority. The span of this stage is from the age of 6 to the age of 12 years. Children of this age read in school. Here children learn different skills from their teachers which put pressure on them to work hard for better results. Teachers as well as parents demand from children for their homework. Sometimes children are associated with the professional responsibilities of parents at this stage. They also stand up against their peers in terms of efficiency and productivity in school, at home or in other social environments. In this case, if the children are encouraged for their good performance at school, at home or in other local environments, they will develop a sense of accomplishment. This feeling will motivate the children to work harder and gain more skills and productivity.
On the other hand, if the child cannot do better than his peers or cannot satisfy his teacher or parents in his performance, then a feeling of inferiority will develop in the children. According to Erickson, the above situation is a crisis. This crisis is called industry vs. inferiority crisis.
Teachers can play a very important role in overcoming the crisis of industry Vs inferiority among children. For this, teachers should design their classrooms and school environment in such a way that there is always be a positive attitude. In addition, they should consider students as worthy and valuable people.
5) Identity Vs Role Confusion (12 years to 20 years):-
The fifth stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development is the stage of identity versus Role Confusion. The span of this stage is from the age of 12 to the age of 20 years. This stage begins with the onset of puberty. At this stage adolescents begin to find their own personal identity. Due to Some sudden changes in their body and mental activities as well as the changing needs of the society, Some questions about themselves are created in them at this stage, such as- 1) Who am I ? 2) What have I become? 3) Who can I be? Etc. Based on these questions, they examine their different sexual, professional and educational roles and try to understand – who are they? And what could they be?
Adolescents, who succeed in resolving the crisis of all previous stages, will develop a sense of identity at this stage. On the other hand, if adolescents fail to solve the crisis of all previous stages, then at this stage they will feel a sense of role confusion and they will not be able to create any identity of their own.
SOME MAJOR ROLE CONFUSIONS:
In the above mentioned situation – 1) They may feel completely lacking in confidence. 2) At this time they will not understand – what they have to do or, what not to do? 3) At this time they do not understand how to behave with themselves? Or 4) they may be unable to decide their educational or professional career or unable to make friends.
Teachers and parents can play an important role in helping to resolve the crisis of identity versus Role Confusion among adolescents. To solve the crisis mentioned above, teachers and parents never insult teenagers in front of their peers or anyone else. They will always try to assign responsibilities to teenagers independently and collectively and trust them for their commitment and behavior.
6) Intimacy Vs Isolation (Early Adulthood – 20 years to 45 years):-
The sixth stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development is the stage of intimacy versus isolation. The span of this stage is from the age of 20 to the age of 45 years. This period is called the early adulthood. During this time a tendency to become intimate with different people is seen to develop among individuals. This is why people of this age seek long-term relationships with other people in the neighborhood in addition to family members. Feelings of extreme intimacy between people at this stage are clearly seen when they build sex with their love partner of the opposite sex. This kind of intimacy is seen in people in another form when they sacrifice for a close friend or family member. When individuals fail to develop this intimacy with other people, a feeling of isolation develops between them.
This is the crisis of intimacy versus isolation at this age. This crisis needs to be resolved. If this is possible, it will be possible for a person to build a strong, meaningful relationship with other people.
7) Generativity Vs Stagnation (Middle Adulthood – 45 years to 65 years):-
The seventh stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development is the stage of Generativity Vs Stagnation. The span of this stage is from the age of 45 to the 65 years of age. This period is called the middle adult period. Generavity is an attempt by current people to establish and guide the next generation. This can be realized through the upbringing, guidance and management of own children as well as other young people or by engaging in some creative and productive work that can be beneficial to society.
Those who succeed at this stage will feel that they are contributing to the world by being active in their homes and communities. On the other hand, those who fail to reach this skill goes forword to stagnation. Stagnation is the shallow saturation of the earth. Stagnation is someone or something that has no little movement or no movement at all.
8) Ego Integrity Vs Despair (Later Adulthood – 65 years onwards):-
The eighth and final stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development is the stage of ego integrity versus despair. The span of this stage is from the age of 65 to death. This stage is associated with old age. At this stage people face a crisis of ego integrity vs. despair. After reaching this stage, people look back at their previous lives and try to understand whether they are happy with the past life they have lived or whether they regret what they have done or not done in the past.
For those who are happy with their past life, a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction is created in them. This feeling is called ego-integrity. On the other hand, those who were dissatisfied with their past lives and those who were remorseful for their past actions developed a feeling of imperfection and dissatisfaction. This is why they look back on their lives with frustration. This feeling is called Despair.
Our Other BLOG Post