Essay Example on Erikson's Theory of Human Development

Published: 2019-06-25
Essay Example on Erikson's Theory of Human Development
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Child development Developmental psychology
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1034 words
9 min read

Newman, B., & Newman, P. (2007). Theories of human development. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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The underlying principle of Erikson's theory is tied to understanding the term, psychosocial. Psychosocial is a merger of two words that is psychological and social. Psychological come from the word psychology that refers to anything affecting the mind such as the function of awareness feeling, or motivation. On the other hand, social refers to the relationship among the human beings. Erikson works is a redefinition and expansion of the Freuds theory of stages. Erikson says that the theory of stages functions by the epigenetic principle. The principle notes that humans develop through a predetermined unfolding of their personalities in eight stages. This principle does not refer to the individual genetic makeup and its influence on individual development. The principle is entirely focused on the after birth and ignores the pre-birth stages in its analysis.

Each stage according to Erikson, involves development tasks that are psychological in nature. In addition, each stage also has a certain optimal time such that an individual cannot be pushed to the next stage at the right time without causing interference on the other remaining stages. As an individual manages the current stage well, he or she carries a psychological strength that helps in the other stages.

Ahola, D., & Kovacik, A. (2007). Observing and understanding child development. Australia: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Eriksons psychosocial theory asserts that people experience eight psychosocial crisis stages, which significantly affect each persons development and personality. The first stage in referred to as the infancy stage. This stage captures the individual with ages 0 to 1 year. This stage is characterized by the virtue of trust or mistrust that is picked by the individual from his or her environment. If the guardian, parents, friends and other, meets the needs of the infant, he or she automatically develops a sense of basic trust.

Any interference in this infancy stage has either a positive or a negative impact. The impacts result to the healthy growth of the infancy or unhealthy growth. The health status of the development at this stage can be verified by observation of the infant behavior. The infant depicting healthy growth often expresses trust by investing in relationships, feels free, showing a non-suspicious attitude. One of my nephews Joan, under the care of his parents he successfully showed healthy growth in this stage. Joan, who is currently 15 years old, surprised neighbor on how he could maintain calmness when the mother had left him to one of them often as she went on shopping.

The toddler is the second stage according to Eriksons theory of psychosocial development. In this stage, the toddler strives to learn independence and self-confidence. In the course of the stage, the toddler ends up expressing the virtue of autonomy or shame and doubt. Autonomy in this stage is characterized by the toddler being independent, not easily led, dominant and able to work alone or with others. For a toddler picking up shame and doubt, he or she expresses behaviors opposite to those of autonomy. For instance, when Joan was two years old he had developed some dominance. If he was playing with something, then you attempt to pick it up, he could not let you walk away with it.

Preschooler is the third stage. In this stage, one learns to initiate tasks and grapple with self-control. As a result, the preschooler aged 3 to 5 years expresses either the virtue of initiative or guilt. The preschooler expresses initiative by being a self-starter, one that accepts challenges and one that moves easily and freely with the body. In this stage, Joan could easily accept defeat. If he was trying to do something new such as lifting something heavy, he could easily accept he cannot do it and crawls away to do something else.

The elementary school is the fourth stage experienced at the age of 6 years all the way to puberty. The child in this stage learns to feel effective or inadequate. For symptoms of a healthy growth in this stage, the child wonders how things are done, completes assignments, and enjoys learning and likes experiments. For instance, when Joan was at his 6th grade, he constantly kept asking questions anyone he comes across about the things he could not explain.

Adolescence is the fifth stage. The teenager works at developing a sense of self-testing role, then integrating them to form a single identity. For instance, when Joan was about to graduate from his junior grade, he was in trouble with the teacher for constantly being hooked to the opposite sex.

Hoare, C. (2002). Erikson on development in adulthood. New York: Oxford University Press.

Young adulthood is the sixth stage that houses individual between 20 to 40 years. In this, stage one struggle to form close relationships and to gain capacity. The healthy in this stage express the sense of intimacy while the unhealthy express isolation and self-absorption. For instance, my cousin John has successfully grown at this stage given the level of friendship he easily creates with his environment.

Middle adulthood is the seventh stage that carries individuals between 40 to 60 years. The stage is characterized by the individual seeking a sense of contribution to the world, through work or family. For instance my uncle Smith 43 years old, he is successfully passing the stage. He is very passionate about his job as an engineer, and always wants to start new projects that will change lives.

Lastly, adulthood is the last stage. The stage involves reflection on the past life experiences hence causing a feeling of despair or self-contentment. The unhealthy in this stage keep complaining, experience low self-esteem and feel anger towards the society. My grandfather who is 70 years old is currently in a crisis given that he always complains about every little and big thing. In addition, he has always brought out in our discussion the dreams he never realized as a young man and, therefore, feels like a failure.


Ahola, D., & Kovacik, A. (2007). Observing and understanding child development. Australia: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Hoare, C. (2002). Erikson on development in adulthood. New York: Oxford University Press.

Newman, B., & Newman, P. (2007). Theories of human development. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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