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Erikson's Psychosocial Stages of Personality

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Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Personality Development

Trust vs. Mistrust

Trust versus mistrust is Erikson’s first stage in his theory psychosocial development. It is also believed to be the most important. In this stage, infants learn whether or not they can trust the people around them, especially those they’re closest to. It occurs during the first year of life when the infant is completely dependent on its mother/caregiver. Because the infant is utterly helpless during this time, the personality is affected by the degree of love, care and dependability of the parent. If the parent attends to the child’s needs accordingly, is present and responsive, it is rational to believe that he or she will grow up feeling safe and secure in the world. If, however, the caregiver is emotionally or physically unavailable, irresponsible or lackadaisical, he or she could grow up fearful of the world, viewing it as erratic and inconsistent. I obviously do not remember this period of my life, but I am aware that I was properly and fully attended to. I was the first child of my mother’s second set (8 year difference) and the first planned pregnancy she encountered. I was my father’s first daughter and a really beautiful gift to my family because of that. My mother adored me and stayed at home while my father worked for the full first year of my existence. My view matches Erikson’s theory of the outcome of positive care, seeing how I am trusting, hopeful and comfortable in the world around me.

Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

Autonomy versus shame and doubt is Erikson’s second stage in his theory of psychosocial development. In this stage, infants begin to experience their first dose of independence. It occurs after the first year of life to about age three. From walking, to gaining more control over toy preferences and food choices, to the big one: toilet training, a...

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