Erikson studied Freud’s Psychoanalysis
Theory under Freud’s daughter, Anna
Expansion of Freud’s concept of ego
Only developmental theory that extends
through adulthood
Sources: London, Ladewig, Ball, Bindler, & Cowen, 2011
McEwen & Wills, 2007
Eight stages of psychosocial development with an identified
challenge to be mastered
As each challenge is mastered strengths are gained contributing to
character and health
Development is primarily qualitative - occurring in stages
Also quantitative because one’s identity becomes stronger with
mastery of challenges
Nature determines the sequence of stages
Must pass through one stage prior to entering next stage
Sources: Sharkey, 1997
Tomey-Marriner, 1989
(0-1 )
Trust vs.. Mistrust
Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt
Preschooler (3-6)
Initiative vs. Guilt
Industry vs. Inferiority
Adolescence (12-18)
Ego Identity vs. Role Confusion
Young Adult
Intimacy vs. Isolation
VII Middle Adult (up to 50)
Generativity vs. Self-absorption
VIII Old Adult
Integrity vs. Despair
(≥ 50)
Source: Boeree, 2006
Directly applicable to nursing care of children
 Health promotion & maintenance visits help
caregivers meet child’s needs
 Educate parents to identify normal tasks
 Educate parents to encourage healthy
 Provides framework to assess hospitalized child &
provide care to ensure progression through the
developmental stages
Source: London, et al., 2011
Integral to holistic nursing
 Essential in assessment to determine age
appropriateness or arrested development of
 Results of ego strengths evaluation used by
nurses for assessment and treatment outcomes
 Ego strengths used by nurses to empower
patients to take control of their lives
Source: McEwen & Wills, 2007
Research studies were conducted in the
following areas:
 Impact of diabetes on the development of
psychosocial maturity and the older adult
 How school age children deal with disaster
 Self-care practices of adolescents
 Concept of generativity in middle-aged
women attending graduate school
Source: McEwen & Wills, 2007
I personally use Erickson’s Theory of
Psychosocial Development each time I am in the
clinical area with students. A section of the
assessment tool that we use is devoted to
assessing the psychosocial issues of the assigned
patient. I use this information to identify the
patient’s strengths & weaknesses. When
planning care, I capitalize on the strengths to
assist the patient promote recovery/health
maintenance and promotion.

Erickson`s Theory of Psychosocial Development