According to Sigmund Freud, personality is mostly established by the age
of five. Early experiences play a large role in personality development and
continue to influence behavior later in life.
Freud's theory of psychosexual development is one of the best known, but
also one of the most controversial. Freud believed that personality
develops through a series of childhood stages during which the pleasure-
seeking energies of the id become focused on certain erogenous areas.
This psychosexual energy, or libido, was described as the driving force
1. Oral Stage
2. Anal Stage
3. Phallic Stage
4. Latency Stage
5. Genital Stage
If these psychosexual stages are completed successfully, the result is
a healthy personality. If certain issues are not resolved at the
appropriate stage, fixation can occur. A fixation is a persistent focus
on an earlier psychosexual stage. Until this conflict is resolved, the
individual will remain "stuck" in this stage. For example, a person
who is fixated at the oral stage may be over-dependent on others and
may seek oral stimulation through smoking, drinking, or eating.
Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is one of the best-
known theories of personality in psychology. Much like Sigmund
Freud, Erikson believed that personality develops in a series of
stages. Unlike Freud’s theory of psychosexual stages, Erikson’s theory
describes the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan.
“Hope is both the
earliest and the most
inherent in the state of
being alive. If life is to
be sustained hope must
remain, even where
confidence is wounded,
- Born on June 15, 1902 at Frankfrut, Germany
- His mother, Karla Abrahamsen, is Jewish.
- He was legally adopted by his step-father, Dr.
- He begins to travel throughout Europe.
- He becomes a teacher at Hietzing School in
Peter Blos- his fellow artist; suggested Erik to
apply for a teaching position Hietzing School
run by Dorothy Burlingham.
- He studied child psychology with Anna
- He was psychoanalyzed by Anna Freud
- He met a Canadian dance teacher, Marries
- At this point in time, they were already married (Erik and Joan). They
have three children, one of them became a sociologist.
- When Nazis coming into power, they left Vienna, to Copenhagen, then
- He begins teaching at Harvard Medical School and practiced child
- He officially changed his name to Erik Erikson when he became an
- He wrote Childhood and Society.
- During Senator Joseph McCarthy’s reign, he left Berkeley when professors
were asked to sign a “loyalty oaths”.
- He published Young Man Luther.
- He published Youth: Change and Challenge.
- He published Insight and Responsibility.
- He published Identity: Youth and Crisis.
- He retired from teaching.
- He wrote and did some research wrote his wife.
- He died on May 12, 1994 at Harwich, MA.
• Body ego (experiences with our body, a way of seeing the
physical self as different for other people)
• Ego Ideal (the image we have of ourselves in comparison
with an established ideal; it is responsible for our being
satisfied or not satisfied not only with our physical self but
also with our entire personal identity)
• Ego Identity (the image we have of ourselves in the variety
of social roles we play)
Epigenetic theory is an emergent theory of
development that includes both the genetic
origins of behavior and the direct influence
that environmental forces have, over time, on
the expression of those genes. The theory
focuses on the dynamic interaction between
these two influences during development.
We develop through an unfolding of our personality
in predetermined stages, and that our environment
and surrounding culture influence how we progress
through these stages. This biological unfolding in
relation to our socio-cultural settings is done in
stages of psychosocial development, where
"progress through each stage is in part determined
by our success, or lack of success, in all the
Childrens and Adults
Erikson had some things to say about the
interaction of generations, which he called
mutuality. Freud had made it abundantly clear
that a child’s parents influence his or her
development. It is even appropriate to add a
third generation to the picture.
The first stage of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development
occurs between birth and one year of age and is the most
fundamental stage in life.
Because an infant is utterly dependent, the development of trust is
based on the dependability and quality of the child's caregivers.
Ifa child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and
secure in the world. Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally
unavailable, or rejecting contribute to feelings of mistrust in the
children they care for. Failure to develop trust will result in fear
and a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable.
This stage occurs between the ages of 18 months to approximately
age two to three years. According to Erikson, children at this stage
are focused on developing a greater sense of self-control.
Gaining a sense of personal control over the world is important at this
stage of development. Toilet training plays a major role; learning to
control one’s body functions leads to a feeling of control and a sense
of independence. Other important events include gaining more
control over food choices, toy preferences and clothing selection.
Children who successfully complete this stage feel secure and
confident, while those who do not are left with a sense of inadequacy
During the preschool years, children begin to
assert their power and control over the world
through directing play and other social
Children who are successful at this stage feel
capable and able to lead others. Those who
fail to acquire these skills are left with a
sense of guilt, self-doubt, and lack of
The stage occurs during childhood between the ages of six and eleven.
School and social interaction play an important role during this time of a
child’s life. Through social interactions, children begin to develop a
sense of pride in their accomplishments and abilities.
Children who are encouraged and commended by parents and teachers
develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills. Those who
receive little or no encouragement from parents, teachers, or peers will
doubt their ability to be successful.
According to Erikson, this stage is vital in the development of self-
confidence. During school and other social activities, children receive
praise and attention for performing various tasks such as reading,
writing, drawing and solving problems. Children need to cope with new
social and academic demands. Success leads to a sense of competence,
while failure results in feelings of inferiority.
Duringadolescence, children explore their
independence and develop a sense of self.
Those who receive proper encouragement and
reinforcement through personal exploration will
emerge from this stage with a strong sense of
self and a feeling of independence and control.
Those who remain unsure of their beliefs and
desires will feel insecure and confused about
themselves and the future.
Thisstage takes place during young adulthood between the
ages of approximately 19 and 40. During this period of time,
the major conflict centres on forming intimate, loving
relationships with other people.
Studieshave demonstrated that those with a poor sense of self
tend to have less committed relationships and are more likely
to suffer emotional isolation, loneliness, and depression.
Eriksonbelieved it was vital that people develop close,
committed relationships with other people. Success leads to
strong relationships, while failure results in loneliness and
During adulthood, we continue to build our
lives, focusing on our career and family.
Those who are successful during this phase
will feel that they are contributing to the
world by being active in their home and
community. Those who fail to attain this skill
will feel unproductive and uninvolved in the
This stage occurs during late adulthood from age 65 through the end of
life. During this period of time, people reflect back on the life they have
lived and come away with either a sense of fulfilment from a life well lived
or a sense of regret and despair over a life misspent.
Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of
integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few
regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain
wisdom, even when confronting death. Those who feel proud of their
accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this
phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of
satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom, even when confronting
Those who are unsuccessful during this phase will feel that their life has
been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual will be left
with feelings of bitterness and despair.