Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Psychosocial Theory of Development

By:  Kimberly Swanson, PsyM, LPC
The psychosocial theory was created and developed by Erik Erikson (psychologist). Erikson's psychosocial theory is an expansion of Freud's psychoanalytic theory. According to Erikson's (1959) theory of psychosocial development, there are eight phases. Like Freud, Erikson states that crisis takes place during each stage of development. In Erikson (1963), when problems take place during psychosocial stages of development, they take place due to the mental needs of the individual (i.e., psycho) working against the needs of the general public (i.e., social).
According to Erikson's theorization, successfully completing each phase can enable outcomes of having a healthy personality and acquiring good solid morals. Essential virtues include traits that will allow the ego to overcome tragic situations or circumstances.
Not completing a particular stage in development can lessen the chance of achieving more advanced phases and cause a more unhealthy personality and a sense of identity. Fortunately, these phases can be changed and improved over time. 

The following charts are Erikson's 8 Stages of Psychosocial Development:

Chart from McLeod (2013)


Erikson, E. H. (Ed.). (1963). Youth: Change and challenge. Basic books.

Erikson, E. H., Paul, I. H., Heider, F., & Gardner, R. W. (1959). Psychological issues (Vol. 1). International Universities Press.

McLeod, S. A. (2013). Erik Erikson. Retrieved from

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Lecture on Psychosocial Development Theory by Kimberly Swanson "Purpoz," MS-Psy, CNA

Last Updated - 03/16/2022

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