Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development

“To look back at your earlier years is to gaze upon a graveyard of former selves, each of whose entire life was consumed by tensions, dilemmas and desires that now possess the fragile quality not of memory but dream. As Erikson tried to codify, the only way forward is to pay attention to the challenge of life as you awake to it today, and find the psychological stance that wins growth over inertia.”

—M.M. Owen, “Erik Erikson knew that self-invention takes a lifetime.” Aeon. January 16, 2018.

Which leads to Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development, i.e.:

  • Infancy / Under 2 years / Hope / Trust vs. Mistrust / Mother / Can I trust the world? / Feeding, abandonment
  • Toddlerhood / 2–4 years / Will / Autonomy vs. Shame / Doubt / Parents / Is it okay to be me? / Toilet training, clothing themselves
  • Early childhood / 5-8 years / Purpose / Initiative vs. Guilt / Family / Is it okay for me to do, move, and act? / Exploring, using tools or making art
  • Middle Childhood / 9-12 years / Competence / Industry vs. Inferiority / Neighbors, School / Can I make it in the world of people and things? / School, sports
  • Adolescence / 13–19 years / Fidelity / Identity vs. Role / Confusion / Peers, Role Model / Who am I? Who can I be? / Social relationships
  • Early adulthood / 20–39 years / Love / Intimacy vs. Isolation / Friends, Partners / Can I love? / Romantic relationships
  • Middle Adulthood / 40–59 years / Care / Generativity vs. Stagnation / Household, Workmates / Can I make my life count? / Work, parenthood
  • Late Adulthood / 60 and above / Wisdom / Ego Integrity vs. Despair / Mankind, My kind / Is it okay to have been me? / Reflection on life “

—Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, s.v. “Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development,” (accessed January 22, 2019),

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