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Erikson developed an eight-stage theory of psychological development that occurs as people grow through the entire lifespan. Each stage contained within this theory of development consists of a crisis that must be confronted and overcome. These crises represent psychological turning points that are characterized by "increased vulnerability" and "enhanced potential" (Essortment, 2002). Healthy development results from the effective resolution of the crises within these psycho-social stages of development. The first stage of in Erikson's theory is the trust vs. mistrust., and this occurs in the first year of life. In order for an infant to feel trust in this stage, he must feel physical comfort and little fear about the future, and if the infant has a strong basic trust, he will maintain a hopeful attitude (Childstudy.net, 2005). If the infant does not have his basic needs satisfied at this stage in life, a sense of mistrust is developed, which, when severe, may result in the child being withdrawn with self-esteem issues (childstudy.net, 2005). Erikson believed that a basic sense of trust is critical for healthy personality development.
The second stage in Erikson's theory of psychosocial development is autonomy vs. shame, which occurs between the ages of 1 year to three years. This is the stage of life when children learn to walk, talk and feed themselves. Hence, it is when children begin to become more self-reliant to fulfill their basic needs. This stage is characterized by the need for control on the environment, and it requires the caretaker of the child to take a stance of firmness before the child is able to develop autonomy. If a child in this stage encounters a lot of negative experience that results in self-consciousness, shame may result. Furthermore, of parents make a child feel shameful excessively, feelings of self-doubt may evolve (Childstudy.net, 2005).
Following the autonomy vs. shame stage of psychosocial development is the initiative vs. guilt stage, which occurs between the ages of three to five years during the preschool years. At this point in life, children begin to experience a broadening social world and face new and more demanding challenges. These new challenges require active and purposeful behavior coupled with responsibility, which results in increased initiative. If the child is overly anxious due to their own irresponsibility, uncomfortable feelings of guilt may arise. However, Erikson believed that the guilt experienced by some children at this stage could be remedied quickly through a sense of accomplishment (Essortment, 2002).
The next stage in Erikson's theory of psychosocial development occurs between the ages of six to eleven years, and it is characterized by the struggle between industry vs. inferiority. At this stage there is a noticeable shift from play for the sake of playing to a genuine desire for completion and achievement. At this stage the child learns that tasks on which he embarks can have to possible results: praise and recognition for doing a good job, or failure.
Erikson's fifth developmental stage is identity vs. identity confusion, and it occurs during adolescence. This is the time when individuals first seek out their true identities in attempts to develop a sense of self (Essortment, 2002). This stage can simply be summed up by the question "Who am I?".
As early adulthood approaches, so does Erikson's sixth psychosocial stage of development, intimacy vs. isolation. At the forefront during this stage is the task of forming intimate, meaningful relationships with others. If individuals successfully form meaningful and intimate friendships and relationships at this stage, intima
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Erikson, Jean Piaget, Miller, Schumaker, Sternberg, Chatterjee,
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