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psychosocial theory

Stage 1: Trust vs. Mistrust (Infancy from birth to 18 months)
Stage 2: Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (Toddler years from 18
months to three years)
Stage 3: Initiative vs. Guilt (Preschool years from three to five)
Stage 4: Industry vs. Inferiority (Middle school years from six to 11)
Stage 5: Identity vs. Confusion (Teen years from 12 to 18)
Stage 6: Intimacy vs. Isolation (Young adult years from 18 to 40)
Stage 7: Generativity vs. Stagnation (Middle age from 40 to 65)
Stage 8: Integrity vs. Despair (Older adulthood from 65 to death)
Stage 5.
Identity versus role confusion is the fifth stage of ego in psychologist Erik Erikson's
theory of psychosocial development. This stage occurs during adolescence between
the ages of approximately 12 and 18. During this stage, adolescents explore their
independence and develop a sense of self.
According to Erikson, people progress through a series of stages as they
grow and change throughout life. During each stage, everyone faces a
developmental conflict that must be resolved to successfully develop the
primary virtue of that stage. Erikson was interested in how social interaction
and relationships affect development and growth.
What to Know
Psychosocial conflict: Identity vs. role confusion
Major question: "Who am I?"
Basic virtue: Fidelity
Important event(s): Social relationships
What Are Identity and Role Confusion?
As they transition from childhood to adulthood, teens may begin to
feel confused or insecure about themselves and how they fit into
society. As they seek to establish a sense of self, teens may
experiment with different roles, activities, and behaviors. According to
Erikson, this is important to the process of forming a strong identity
and developing a sense of direction in life.
One of the main elements of Erikson's psychosocial stage theory is the
development of ego identity. It is the conscious sense of self that we
develop through social interaction, which is constantly changing due to
new experiences and information we acquire in our daily interactions
with others.
Identity involves the experiences, relationships, beliefs, values, and
memories that make up a person's subjective sense of self. This helps create
a continuous self-image that remains fairly constant even as new aspects of
the self are developed or strengthened over time. Identity provides:
Benefits of Identity
Commitment, Self-confidence, Sense of independence, Fidelity
Erikson believed that it was vital to develop close, committed relationships
with other people. As people enter adulthood, these emotionally intimate
relationships play a critical role in a person's emotional well-being.
While the word intimacy is closely associated with sex for many, it
encompasses much more than that. Erikson described intimate relationships
as those characterized by closeness, honesty, and love.
Romantic and sexual relationships can be an important part of this stage of
life, but intimacy is more about having close, loving relationships. It includes
romantic partners, but it can also encompass close, enduring friendships
with people outside of your family.
What Causes Intimacy or Isolation?
Intimacy requires being able to share parts of yourself with others, as well
as the ability to listen to and support other people. These relationships
are reciprocal—you are sharing parts of yourself, and others are sharing with
When this happens successfully, you gain the support, intimacy, and
companionship of another person. But sometimes things don't go so
smoothly. You might experience rejection or other responses that cause you
to withdraw. It might harm your confidence and self-esteem, making you
warier of putting yourself out there again in the future.
Isolation can happen for a number of reasons. Factors that may
increase your risk of becoming lonely or isolated include:
Childhood experiences including neglect or abuse
Divorce or death of a partner
Fear of commitment
Fear of intimacy
Inability to open up
Past relationships
Troubles with self-disclosure
No matter what the cause, it can have a detrimental impact on your life. It
may lead to feelings of loneliness and even depression.
Conclusion : Healthy relationships are important for both your physical and
emotional well-being. The sixth stage of Erikson's psychosocial theory of
development focuses on how these critical relationships are forged. Those
who are successful at this stage are able to forge deep relationships and
social connections with other people.
If you are struggling with forming healthy, intimate relationships, talking to
a therapist can be helpful. A mental health professional can help you
determine why you have problems forming or maintaining relationships and
develop new habits that will help your forge these important connections.
Generativity vs. stagnation is the seventh stage of Erik Erikson’s theory of
psychosocial development. This stage takes place during middle adulthood,
between the approximate ages of 40 and 65.1 It comes before the eighth
and final stage of development in Erikson's theory, which is integrity vs.
It's important to note that life events at this stage tend to be less agespecific than they are during early- and late-stage life. The major events
that contribute to this stage (such as marriage, work, and child-rearing) can
occur at any point during the broad span of middle adulthood.
What to Know
Psychosocial Conflict: Generativity vs. stagnation
Major Question: "How can I contribute to the world?"
Basic Virtue: Care
Important Event(s): Parenthood and work
What Are Generativity and Stagnation?
To understand this stage of middle adulthood development, it's helpful to
know what the terms generativity and stagnation mean.
Generativity refers to "making your mark" on the world by caring for others,
as well as through creating and accomplishing things that make the world a
better place. Key characteristics of generativity include:2
Developing relationships with family
Making commitments to other people
Mentoring others
Contributing to the next generation
These sorts of actions are frequently realized through having and raising
children. Those who are successful during this phase feel that they are
contributing to the world by being active in their home and community.
Stagnation refers to the failure to find a way to contribute. Stagnant
individuals may feel disconnected or uninvolved with their community or
with society as a whole. Some characteristics of stagnation include:
Being self-centered (neuroticism)
Failing to get involved with others
Not taking an interest in productivity
No efforts to improve the self
Placing one's concerns above all else
Those who fail to attain the generativity skill feel unproductive in and
uninvolved with the world.
A Word From Verywell
The generativity vs. stagnation stage of psychosocial development is when
we start to question, "How can I contribute to the world?" Finding ways to
advance or enhance future generations can help you work toward
generativity instead of having a sense of stagnation.
What is the virtue of generativity vs. stagnation?
The basic virtue of generativity vs. stagnation is "care." This involves caring
for others who are close to the person (family, co-workers, friends, etc.) as
well as caring for the community or the future generation as a whole. If
generativity is not developed, rejectivity, or a lack of meaning in one's life
and in one's actions, can occur.17
How can you cope with generativity and stagnation?
If you have a sense of stagnation, doing something you've never done
before can help turn it around. This could involve learning a new skill or
taking on a new hobby.
If you have a sense of generativity, you can maintain and even promote this
sense by finding additional ways to take part in your community or by
increasing the amount of responsibility you have at work or home.
Integrity versus
despair is the eighth and final stage of Erik
Erikson’s stage theory of psychosocial development. This stage begins at
approximately age 65 and ends at death. Psychologists, counselors, and
nurses today use the concepts of Erikson's stages when providing care for
aging patients.1
What Are Integrity and Despair?
Integrity refers to a person's ability to look back on their life with a sense
of accomplishment and fulfillment. Characteristics of integrity include:
A sense of wholeness
Lack of regret
Feeling at peace
A sense of success
Feelings of wisdom and acceptance
Despair refers to looking back on life with feelings of regret, shame, or
disappointment. Characteristics of despair include:
Ruminating over mistakes
Feeling that life was wasted
Feeling unproductive
The integrity versus despair stage begins as the aging adult begins to tackle
the problem of his or her mortality. The onset of this stage is often triggered
by life events such as retirement, the loss of a spouse, the loss of friends
and acquaintances, facing a terminal illness, and other changes to major
roles in life.2
During the integrity versus despair stage, people reflect back on the life they
have lived and come away with either a sense of fulfillment from a life well
lived or a sense of regret and despair over a life misspent.
How to Decrease Despair
If you find yourself experiencing a sense of despair as you age, there are
steps that you can take to improve your well-being. Some of the steps you
can take include:
Reach out to others: Focus on building social support. Discussing
your feelings with friends and family can help, or look for new
connections by participating in community groups or organizations.
Focus on the positive: Think about the memories and events that
brought you feelings of pride and happiness.
Explore new experiences: Seek out activities that bring you
pleasure and joy in the here-and-now.
Engage in spiritual practice: Find ways to explore your spirituality,
which may help bring feelings of peace and well-being.
Get help: If you continue to struggle with feelings of despair, consider
talking to your doctor or mental health professional. You may be
experiencing symptoms of a condition such as depression or anxiety.
Your doctor can recommend treatments that will help.
At each stage of psychosocial development, people are faced with a crisis that acts
as a turning point in development. Successfully resolving the crisis leads to
developing a psychological virtue that contributes to overall psychological wellbeing.