Erik Homburger Erikson was born on June 15, 1902 in Frankfurt, Germany. Erikson went to an art school and got a job as a children portrait painter. He eventually was tutored psychoanalytic psychology by Anna Freud. Erikson went to the University of Vienna and earned his teaching degree using the Montessori method. During the rise of the Nazis, Erikson moved to the United States. He got a job as a child psychoanayst and an assistant professor and researcher at Harvard and Yale. Erikson moved to San Francisco and took a position at the University of California at Berkeley as a researcher and lecturer. Erikson perceived that there were eight phases of development; trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority, identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation, and integrity vs. despair.

Stage 1:
Trust V Mistrust
Birth-1 Year of Age
- most fundamental stage of psychosocial development
- based on quality of caregivers
- success is based upon a feeling of safety and security
- failure is based upon inconsistent care and emotionally unavailable caregivers
- failure will result in fear/belief that the world is unpredictable and inconsistent

Stage 2:
Autonomy V Shame/Doubt
Early Childhood
- develop a greater sense of personal control
- control gained through making preferences in food, clothing, and toys
- success results in confidence and being secure with oneself
- failure results in inadequacy and self-doubt

Stage 3:
Initiative V Guilt
Pre-School Years
- asserting power through directing play and other social interactions
- success results in a sense of capability and an ability to lead others
- failure results in a sense of guilt, self-doubt, and lack of initiative

Stage 4:
Industry V Inferiority
Ages 5-11
- children develop a sense of pride in accomplishments and abilities through social interactions
- encouragement from parents and teachers is necessary for success
- failure results in doubting one's own abilities to be successful

Stage 5:
Identity V Confusion
- focus on exploring independence
- develop a sense of self
- personal exploration must be encouraged
- success will result in a strong sense of self and feeling of independence and control
- failure with result in unsure beliefs and desire and insecure/confused feelings in the future

Stage 6:
Intimacy V Isolation
Early adulthood
- develop close, committed relationships in order to develop secure and committed relationship in the future
- strong sense of personal identity is needed
- less committed relationships will result in emotional isolation, depression, and loneliness

Stage 7:
Generativity V Stagnation
- focuses on career and family
- asks questions about whether or not one will have a family and career
- success will result in a sense that you've contributed to the world
- failure will result in a feeling of being unproductive and uninvolved in the world

Stage 8:
Integrity V Despair
Old Age
- reflecting back on life
- success will result in a general sense of satisfaction and wisdom
- failure will result in regrets, bitterness, despair, and a feeling that your life has been wasted


Practical Applications/Uses in Society
Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development can be applied to many aspect of life, such as eating habits. His different stages correspond with the different stages in the development of eating habits. During the first stage, which is Trust vs. Distrust, children must be fed by there parents. It is important that parents feed their children only when they are hungry, and to do so in a cool, comfortable environment. By doing this, the child develops a sense of trust toward their adult. In the Autonomy Vs. Shame and Doubt stage, children acquire a greater sense of self control. Children should be allowed to attempt to feed themselves, regardless of whether they make a mess. They may refuse a food, or attempt to combine them, and should not be discouraged. As they grow, the toddlers enter the Initiative Vs. Guilt Stage. As its name state, kids began to take more initiative. They will begin to try new foods, serving themselves, and deciding whether they are full. Finally, children enter the last stage that is related to eating habits, which is the Industry Vs. Inferiority Stage. Adolescents feel capable of fulfilling their own needs. They can discern whether they are hungry, and satisfy themselves. Kids can begin assisting in the formation of menus and can even help prepare foods. The development of eating habits in young men and women can be traced using Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development.

Related Articles:
"Erik Erikson: ages, stages, and stories. (Changing Perceptions of Aging and the Aged)" by Steven Weiland
The article is about how Erikson came up with the theory.

1) During the first stage of development, what should parents emphasize for their child?
2) If a child has too much guilt during stage two (early childhood) what can happen as a result?
3) How do pre-school children assert their power?
4) Why is the first stage the most important?
5) Which stage (if successfully completed) results in a feeling that you've contributed to the world?
6) As an adult, Mary is able to successfully live alone with no intervention from parents or family. This is a most likely a result of what stage?

"Psychology - Article." Psychology - Complete Guide to Psychology for Students, Educators & Enthusiasts. Web. 09 Nov. 2010.
"Erik Erikson." NNDB: Tracking the Entire World. Web. 09 Nov. 2010. <>.