Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development

According to Erik Erikson, there are a series of eight psychosocial crises' that neurotypical individuals pass through from birth to late adulthood (Crain, 2011). Furthermore, each stage unfolds based on a natural scheme and one's ecological and cultural upbringing. Each stage increases in complexity and builds on earlier stages, but every stage does not require full mastery to advance to the next stage. Stages that are not completely successful are expected to reappear as problems later down the line.

Individuals face two conflicting forces at each stage of the psychosocial development that he or she must reconcile; when reconciliation is not met, the individual emerges from the stage with the corresponding virtue (Crain, 2011). For example, if a preschooler enters school age (industry vs inferiority) with more initiative than guilt, he or she carries the virtue of purpose in the remaining stages.

This infographic outlines Erikson's stages of psychosocial development. Click here to download the high resolution PDF.


Crain, W. (2011). Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

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