08.04 Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development

Watch More! Unlock the full videos with a FREE trial

Add to Study plan

Included In This Lesson

Study Tools

Theories of Development (Cheat Sheet)
Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development – Stage 1 (Infancy) (Picmonic)
Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development – Stage 2 (Toddler) (Picmonic)

Access More! View the full outline and transcript with a FREE trial


In this lesson we're going to focus on Erikson's theory of psychosocial development and what that means overtime.

So when you hear the terms psychosocial development what are we really talking about?

Well what I'm talking about is how we live in the world, how we deal with other people, how we view ourselves, and how we also look at our successes.

Today what we’re really going to look at is Erik Erikson's 8 stages of development, which is an expansion of Freud's theories on psychosocial development. There's a lot of ground to cover but one of the things that I want you to keep in mind is that a person has to master a task within that stage before they move to the next one. So it's really about growth.

So let's get started.

As we move through these, you're going to notice a trend. It meant that there's a central goal for each stage, that has a direct oppositional reaction if that goal is not met. So let's look at the first one to kind of get an idea.

The first one is trust versus mistrust. This is really early on, so birth to about 1 year. What happens is, the infant looks to the primary caregiver for things like consistent, reliable, and predictable care. They looked and I get hurt or injured, and if there's a breakdown in any one of these things, it creates mistrust.

As they move out of and into early childhood, so like one two three years, they face the stage of autonomy versus shame and doubt. What really happens in this stage is that the child learns to develop skills and independence. The other thing too about the stage is that children should be allowed to test their capabilities. So parents should be encouraged to allow their child to take on a task until they either fail it or ask for help. As a result, if the adult tends to criticize their failure and not being able to do the task, that leads to shame which is in opposition of autonomy and independence.

As you move from early Childhood into late childhood the first stage that we're going to look at is initiative versus guilt. This is in the three to six year range, and this is when the child will begin to interact with other children. A lot of times it's initiated by themselves and they begin to become inquisitive.

If adults become critical of their inquisitive nature, what ends up happening is they have this sense of guilt, which is harmful to their initiative.

The next phase is called industry versus inferiority. And what Erikson meant by industry was a sense of accomplishment. So in this stage, children needs to be encouraged to succeed, and if they're not it leads to this idea that they are actually inferior as a result of their lack of success.

After childhood we move into adolescence and into early adulthood.

For this stage of adolescence, we’re really focusing on identity versus role confusion. The purpose of this is to focus on a sense of identity and a purpose within society. This also includes body image as well. If for whatever reason, the patients feel like they don't have a sense of purpose like thinking about what they want to be as an adult, then that leads to problems within how they view their role in society.

And as they get a little bit older, we start to focus on intimacy versus isolation. During this stage of development, adults focus on making long-lasting interrelationships with other people around them. If they're unable to do so, it leads to feeling isolated from the rest of society.

As we starting to get into middle age and old age, this is where a lot of reflective processes happen.

For our middle-aged patients, where to look at something called it generativity versus stagnation. Generativity is Erikson's word for being productive. So we're really focusing on feeling like for contributing to society and being a productive member of society. Like all of the other developmental stages, the opposition of productivity is a sense of failure. So if a patient feels like they're not contributing, they'll feel like they have not been successful and that portion of your life.

This tends to segue into this last phase which is called integrity versus despair. This is really seen in your geriatric patients, and what they do with it spend a lot of time reflecting on their success throughout their life. This is definitely a reflective time and they look back on their life to see how successful they were. If they don't feel like they had any successes, or that they weren't productive throughout their life, then that tends to lead to an idea of hopelessness, or depression.

So how do you fit into all of this?

Well, first it helps you to understand the patient's development in their life, as you plan their care. You can anticipate responses, you can predict patterns, and also affords you the opportunity to educate your patients for what their goals should be during that particular time period.For example, you wouldn't want to try to encourage a three year old to making a long-term relationships, because they're focusing on learning about other people in general at that time frame. You would want to encourage them to try to perform tasks by themselves and create a little bit of independence, since that's what they are focused on at that age.

You also need to take into consideration planning their success and their goals depending on where they're at in their development.

Throughout this lesson we really focus on nursing concepts on human development and cognition, and we also work to focus on health promotion and setting the right goals for a patient.

Okay so let's recap.

Psychosocial theories really focus on how we interact with people and the world throughout our entire life span.

Early Childhood really focuses on building trust and Independence for those children.

Late childhood Works to focus on interacting with other people and And short-term successes as they start to grow into young adults and adolescents.

For young adults we really focus on purpose and our roles within Society, and also focus on building long-term lasting relationships.

And lastly when we look at adulthood and old age, it's a really a reflective process that looks at productivity and success across our entire lives.

That's it for this lesson. Make sure you check out all the resources attached to this lesson. Now, go out and be your best selves today. And, as always, happy nursing!!
View the FULL Transcript

When you start a FREE trial you gain access to the full outline as well as:

  • SIMCLEX (NCLEX Simulator)
  • 6,500+ Practice NCLEX Questions
  • 2,000+ HD Videos
  • 300+ Nursing Cheatsheets

“Would suggest to all nursing students . . . Guaranteed to ease the stress!”