Erik Erikson formulated his own version of psychoanalytic theory. He began to think of Freud’s stages of development as too limited. He proposed eight developmental stages which cover the entire life span. In this article, we will cover all the stages of Erikson’s psychosocial theory and particularly the generativity vs stagnation stage of theory.
Each of Erikson’s stages is cover by a particular challenge or developmental crisis, which is central to that stage of life and which must be resolved.
Erikson’s first five stages are closely related to Freud’s Stages.
However, Erikson’s stages differ significantly from Freud’s in their emphasis on the person’s relationship to the family and culture.
He said we develop in psychosocial stages rather than in psychosexual stages.
According to Erikson primary motivation for human behavior is social and reflects a desire to affiliate with other people.
According to him developmental changes occur throughout the lifespan.
Erikson states, eight stages of development unfold as we go through life.
At each stage, a unique developmental task confronts individuals with a crisis that must be resolved, but this crisis is not a catastrophe but a turning point marked by both increased vulnerability and enhanced potential.
The more successfully and individual resolves the crises the healthier development will be.
He believed that development proceeds through a series of developmental crises or challenges that occur throughout the life span.
Each stage involves a struggle between two conflicting personality outcomes, one of which is positive or adaptive, while the other is negative or maladaptive.
Healthy development involves the adaptive overweighing the maladaptive.
1 Trust vs Mistrust:
It is the first crisis if infancy. In this crisis, the infant learns whether the world is essentially a secure place, where basic needs will be readily satisfied, or the opposite, an unpredictable arena where needs are met only after much crying and sometimes not even then.
If the infant’s needs are met, he receives attention and affection, his later outlook on the world will probably reflect a foundation of trust formed during this period.
Erikson contended that babies begin to develop a sense of security when their mother provides food and comfort with “consistency, continuity, and sameness of experience.”
When interaction with the mother inspires trust and security, the child experiences confidence in engaging and exploring the world.
2 Autonomy Vs Shame And Doubt:
This crisis occurs in toddlerhood. Toddlers want autonomy, or self-rule, over their actions and bodies.
If they fail in their effort to gain it either because they are incapable or because their caregivers are too restrictive and forbidding.
They feel ashamed of their actions and doubtful of their abilities.
If parents do everything for the child, prevent his explorations, or impose too many punishments, he may leave this stage doubting his own abilities.
According to him, the key to meeting this crisis and gaining a sense of autonomy is parental guidance and protection.
If parents accomplish this, the child will become increasingly self-confidence when encountering new challenges.
3 Initiative vs Guilt:
In this stage of ( 4 to 5 years of age ) psychosocial development, preschool child eagerly begins new projects and activities and feels guilt when his or her efforts result in failure or criticism.
During ages 3 to 6, positive enthusiasm, efforts, and self-evaluation are typical to preschool years.
Erikson calls this development stage as initiative vs guilt. In this stage young children, self-esteem is largely defined by the skills and competencies that demonstrate their independence and initiative.
- Most preschool leap at almost any opportunity to show that “I can do it” spontaneous play becomes goal-directed.
- Children not only want to do something, but they also want to begin and complete their own activities for a purpose.
- Children participate in new activities, develop their sense of themselves and others.
- Feeling guilt when their efforts result in failure or criticism.
4 Industry vs Inferiority:
In the forth crises (6 to 11 years of age) of psychosocial development, school-age children attempt to master many skills and develop a sense of themselves as either industrious and competent or incompetent and inferior.
Industry indicates the child, interest in seeing how things work. Inferiority indicates that his skills and abilities are inadequate or hopeless.
Children who are encouraged to make things, to complete projects, to establish friendships, and to discover new interests for themselves are more likely to leave this period enjoying their productivity. But if they meet with no success, their interest in school work
Sports, projects or even in friendship may suffer.
5 Ego Identity vs Role Confusion:
In it the person tries to figure out “who I am”? but is confused as to which of many roles to adopt.
From about age 12 to 18, the adolescent faces the tasks of sorting out his own ego identity, and failure to do so results in role confusion.
Erikson sees this stage as centered on more than the emergence of sexuality.
If an individual can discern his self-image from a confusing array of roles as son, friend, student, and sexual being he will emerge with a fairly solid feeling of an integrated identity.
At this stage, the individual begins to take a primary role in resolving his own conflicts.
6 Intimacy vs Isolation:
Intimacy is a criterion of having attained the psychosocial state of adulthood.
By intimacy, Erikson means the ability to form close, meaningful relationships with others without the fear of losing oneself in the process. Erikson believes that the prerequisite for intimacy was the attainment of identity.
Identity is necessary because we cannot know what it means to love someone and seek to share our lives with them until we know who we are and what we want to do with our lives.
Intimacy refers to the essentials ability to relate our deepest hopes and fears to another person and in turn to accept another’s need for intimacy, it describes the relationship between friends just as much as that between sexual partners.
Erikson believed that if a sense of intimacy is not established with friends or a partner then isolation would result.
7 Generativity vs Stagnation:
Generativity vs Stagnation is the 7th stage of Erikson’s theory.
Generativity: It means being concerned which is shown others beyond the immediate family, such as future generations and the nature of the society and world in which those future generations will live.
Middle age brings the) and concern for others. During this stage, the family unit begins to disperse.
Generativity is shown by anyone actively concerned with the welfare of young people and in making the world a better place for them to live and work.
People who successfully resolve this development crisis establish clear guidelines for their lives and are generally productive and happy within this directive framework.
Stagnation: Failure to attain generativity leads to stagnation, in which people became preoccupied with their personal needs and comforts. They indulge themselves as it is they were their own only. These individuals fail to get the attention of others and remain introverted.
They are self-centered, not interact with others and they don’t try to achieve their goals and even they don’t set their goals.
Generativity vs stagnation is related to life events such as marriage, work, and children. Some person Tries their best and work hard and achieve their miles stones but on the other side, some people fail to attain their place in society and in life events.
8 Integrity vs Despair:
The eighth and final stage of his theory of development is integrity vs despair.
When older adults seek to integrate and unify their unique personal experiences with their version of their community.
Many develop pride and contentment with there past and present and past lives, as a shared sense of we within a communicable mutuality.
While some others feel that time is now short for the attempt to start another life and to try out our alternative roads to recovery.
In this eights stage, life brings many quite realistic reasons for experiencing despair; aspect of the present that cause unremitting pain; aspects of a failure that are uncertain and frightening. And, of course, there remains inescapable death.
As at every stage, between the two opposing aspects of the development crisis helps move the person towards a fuller understanding.
|Birth To 1 Year
The mouth, tongue, and gums are the focus of pleasurable sensations in the baby’s body and sucking and feeding are the most stimulating activities.
|Trust vs Mistrust
Babies learn either to trust that others will care for their basic needs, including nourishment, warmth, cleanliness, and physical contact, or to lack confidence in the acre of others.
The anus is the focus of pleasurable sensations in the baby’s body, and the toilet trainings the most important activity.
|Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt
Children learn either to be self-sufficient in many activities, including toileting, feeding, walking, exploring and talking or to doubt their own abilities.
The phallus or penis is the most important body part, and the pleasure is derived from genital stimulation. Boys are proud of their penises and girls wonder why they don’t have one.
|Initiative vs Guilt
Children want to undertake many adult like activities, sometimes overstepping the limits set by parents and feeling guilty.
This is not a stage but an interlude during which sexual needs are quiet and children put psychic energy into conventional activities like school work and sports.
|Industry vs Inferiority
Children busily learn to be competent and productive in mastering new skills or feel inferior and unable to do anything well.
The genitals are the focus of pleasurable sensations and the young person seeks sexual satisfaction in heterosexual relationships.
|Identity vs Confusion
Adolescents try to figure out “who am I”? they establish sexual, political and career identities or are confused about what role to play.
Freud believed that the genital stage 3 lasts throughout adulthood. He also said that the goal of a healthy life is “to love and to work well”.
|Intimacy vs Isolation
Young adults seek companionship and love with another person or become isolated from others because their fear rejection and disappointment.
Generativity vs Stagnation
Middle-aged adults contribute to be next generation through meaningful work, creative activities, and raising a family or they stagnate.
Integrity vs Despair
Older adults try to make sense out of their lives, either seeing life as a meaningful whole or despairing at goals never reached.
Erikson’s Psychosocial theory emphasizes a developmental framework, family relationships, and mental aspects. Yet it had a lack of scientific support but it has a significant place in Psychology. Generativity vs stagnation is the 7th stage of theory. It is related to the middle-aged crisis.