Research Paper on Erik Erikson Theory

According to Erik Erikson theory, at each stage of psychosocial development there is a crisis that must be resolved by reaching a balance between opposing forces, otherwise the ego development may be compromised. The first and second crises take place in the early childhood between the first and the third year of life. Erikson uses the term “crisis” to describe a moment of a major, but not catastrophic, change in the life. In every crisis, there are two poles that lead to the creation of a positive identity: beneficial and the other detrimental pole.

The more or less positive resolution of these crises thus leads to the creation of a more or less positive identity. However, it is not only the positive. In identity development, the balance between the two poles is important. The resolution of each crisis, according to Erikson, allows us to deal more easily with the resolution of the next one. The balance between the two poles is achieved through the acquisition of virtue, for each stage.

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First crisis: trust versus mistrust basic (0-18 months)
The first stage coincides with the oral stage in Freud. The means of contact with outside world is the mouth. The child must be able to trust enough to open up to the world and receive what it gives it through the mouth. The behavior of the person who takes care of the baby is a critical point in the acquisition by the child of the basic trust. The mother’s affection for the newborn must be unconditional for the baby to explore the world with confidence. However, there is no black or white, because it must be a balance between the two poles. Openness to the world is certainly necessary, but some suspicion is most desirable for the protection of the baby.

Second crisis: autonomy versus shame and doubt (18 months – 3 years)
The second stage coincides with the anal stage in Freud. The result of this stage is whether the child will be able to become an independent person or not. Autonomy is central to this stage because it is the period when the child learns how to keep himself clean. He also learns to control his sphincter. He therefore has control of something he can control independently of parental desire. He will be able to decide alone.

For Erikson the first will to be oneself is a prerequisite sense of free will. This period is consistent with the time when the child is experimenting and playing with himself. He realizes that it is likely to cause the disapproval of the social context (parents). However, if the balance leans too much towards the guilt or shame, the child inherits a feeling of not being good enough. The balance here is also desirable.

To find out what the next stages of psychosocial development are, we recommend you to consult free sample research papers on Erik Erikson theory.

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