Erikson and Freud are two of the few theorists who have developed a lifespan approach to development. Freud’s approach to development was psychosexual while Erikson’s was psychosocial. Even though Freud’s theory is better known, Erikson’s theory remains a leading and very much applied model in personality and developmental psychology today.
When considering these two stage-oriented theories, you can directly compare the majority of their stages. These are matched in the following table:
Freud’s Stages of Psychosexual Development
Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial development
Infancy (Birth to 1 year)
Trust versus mistrust
Early childhood (1–3 years)
Autonomy versus doubt
Preschool (3–6 years)
Initiative versus guilt
School age (7–11 years)
Industry versus inferiority
Adolescence (12–18 years)
Identity versus role confusion
Young adulthood (19–40 years)
Intimacy versus isolation
Middle adulthood (40–65 years)
Generativity versus stagnation
Older adulthood (65–death)
Integrity versus despair
When considering Erikson’s eight stages of development, the way a person moves through each stage directly affects their success in the next stage. Their personality is being built and shaped with each stage. At each stage, there is a turning point, called a crisis by Erikson, which a person must confront.
In this assignment, you will observe or interview two different people, each at a different stage of development. For a third observation, take a look at yourself and the stage that you are in (this stage must be different from your other two observations).
Record your three observations in a template. Include the following information:
Current developmental stage
Status within the stage (i.e., identity achievement or role confusion)
Events that have lead to this status
Download a Development Template from the Doc Sharing area to record your observations.
Summarize what you have learned about psychosocial development through these observations/interviews.
Summarize the trends you see in your observations/interviews regarding psychosocial development.
How does movement through Erikson’s stages influence personality development? Again, be specific.
How do Erikson’s stages of development compare to Freud’s stages? How are they similar? How are they different?
Between these two theories, which one do you feel best explains your own personality development? Justify your answers with specific examples.
Chart identifies general characteristics of people being observed
Chart identifies each person’s Erikson’s stage of development
(Course Objective [CO] 2)
Explains which events of this developmental stage influence this outcome
Summarizes learning about psychosocial development, applies observations
Explains the connection between Erikson’s stages of development and personality development
Compares and contrasts Erikson and Freud’s stages of development
Determines which theory best fits own personality development, applies self-observations
(CO 1, 2)
Usage and Mechanics (12)
APA Elements (16)