The Nine Psychosocial Stages of Development theorized by Erik Erikson

To complete this assignment, students must first gain an understanding of the Nine Psychosocial Stages of Development theorized by Erik Erikson. Following this, they are to write, in as much detail as they can, about the comparison of their life development to the stages of Erikson’s theory. The following is an example of how the journal should be chronologically started and maintained.

Nine Psychosocial Stages:

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Trust vs. Mistrust

Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt

Initiative vs Guilt

Industry vs. Inferiority

Identity vs. Role Confusion

Intimacy vs. Isolation

Generativity vs. Stagnation

Integrity vs. Despair

Disparity vs. Faith & Hope


 Sample of assignment

Trust vs. Mistrust: (Birth – 2 yrs.) Write about your current personality – are you a trusting person or a mistrusting person? Write about how your parents and caregivers contributed to this by either providing for your security or by being neglectful with relations to meeting your security needs.

Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt: (2 – 3 yrs.) Write about how you engaged in behavior that was directly associated with becoming autonomous and independent. Behaviors include: feeding, dressing, and caring for oneself. Did your parents and caregivers encourage you with this behavior (Autonomy) or did they deny you the opportunity to do for yourself (Shame & Doubt)?

Initiative vs. Guilt: (3 – 5 yrs.) Write about how you were home-trained and socialized. Did your parents and caregivers stimulate you to engage in gender-related behavior? Did they encourage you to be interactive with chores and allow you to do them? Did you imitate the behaviors that were demonstrated by your gender-specific parent? Did your parents or caregivers provide a safe haven for you to practice appropriate social skills and allow you to make mistakes? (Initiative) Were parents and caregivers overly protective of you and told you “wait until you are bigger and older”? (Guilt)

Industry vs. Inferiority: (6 – 11 yrs.) Write about your engagement in behavior that you felt comfortable and confident about. (An example of which would be: you were good at cooking, athletics, gardening, art, etc.) Some behavior made you feel that you were special and able to do something better than other children. (Industrious vice being Inferior)

Identity vs. Role Confusion: (12 – Adulthood) Write about how you started to develop your identity for the future. What did you want to be when you “grew up” and how did you prepare for this evolutionary development? Did you receive encouragement from your parents and others? If so, how and what kind? Did the preparation stimulate you to become who you wanted to be? Are you still searching for “Identity”?

Intimacy vs. Isolation: (Early Adulthood – Middle Adulthood) Talk about your romantic interests and possible marital lifestyle. Do you plan to get or are you married? If so, how is that going for you? Do you plan to have or already have children? How do they fit into your future? If you do not plan to get married, write about why you don’t want to get married and what are your plans for your future?

Generativity vs. Stagnation: (Middle Adulthood – Retirement) Write about how you plan to assist with the social development of future generations. Talk about how you have contributed to the workforce for many years and want to “give back” to society. Talk about your plans for mentoring young people to make future societies better. You may want to describe behaviors such as becoming a mentor or volunteer for some local organization.

Integrity vs. Despair:
(Late Adulthood – After Retirement) Write about you “Reflecting” upon your life and how you lived. Write about your pleasure or displeasure of life and if you are satisfied or dissatisfied and why or why not. Be specific with details.
Disparity vs. Hope & Faith: (Much Later Adulthood) Write about how you continue to engage in acts of Generativity. Write about how you continue to pass on “Pearls of Wisdom” and intend to “Leave a Legacy.” (The legacy can be done by leaving large monetary donations, academic scholarships, and mentoring)

Conclusion: (Death) Write about how you want to be remembered. Include whether you want a funeral or some form of commemoration. Be sure to include specific details of how you would like this to be carried out. Also, include a eulogy that you want to be read at whatever event you desire.


Sample Answer


Autobiography: Psychological Stages of Development

The psychosocial stages of development is a theory developed by German-American psychologist Erik Erickson to explain the effects of social experiences in a person’s life from infancy to late adulthood. The psychosocial stages of development explore the interaction between an individual’s psychological needs and societal needs (Lewis, 2020). The stages progress across a person’s lifespan with the stages building on each other.

The Nine Psychosocial Stages

Trust vs. Mistrust

The stage encompasses the period of my life from birth to 2 years. After undertaking a self-assessment, I have concluded that I am a trusting person. I believe I am a trusting person because I tend to take people’s word to be reliable and honest. I tend to trust that most people’s motives are benevolent rather than malevolent. My trusting nature was shaped during my childhood through the actions of my parent and other caregivers. During this period, my caregivers were generally dependable by always being available when I needed care and attention. My caregivers were always sensitive to my needs which cultivated a level of trust in myself since I came to trust the people around me. Consequently, this stage allowed me to develop a trustful nature grounded in the belief that the world is safe and that the people around me were dependable.

Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt

This stage covers the period of my life between 2 to 3 years. This psychosocial stage of my development was characterized by the development of autonomy in various components of my life. During this stage, I first started to exert my autonomy by choosing what I wanted to eat and when I wanted to eat it. I would refuse certain foods offered to me while requesting to be served certain meals. The next way that I expressed my autonomy was by choosing which clothes I wanted to wear and at what time. My parents and caregivers encouraged me to be autonomous in this way by always giving me the opportunity to dress myself. Furthermore, I started to cultivate autonomy through successful potty training. Learning to use the toilet enabled me to develop a level of independence and self-control over my bodily functions. The autonomy gained from this stage is reflected in my self-reliance as an adult.

Initiative vs. Guilt

This psychosocial stage spans the period of my life between 3 and 5 years. During this stage, I developed a sense of initiative and ambition because I was encouraged by my parents and caregivers to be more assertive and responsible within my world. Firstly, I was allowed to initiate play activities with other children and with family members. For instance, I was encouraged to engage in role-playing games where I would choose what role I wanted to assume. The opportunity to play with other children of my age provided an opportunity to learn important social skills. For the most part, I attempted to replicate the behaviors I observed among the people in my social environment. However, in some instances, I would be discouraged from some habits because I was too young which evoked feelings of guilt.

Industry vs. Inferiority

This stage covers the period of life between 6 and 11 years. During this stage, I learned to recognize my strengths in different activities. The period coincides with my early learning stage in school which means that I got to engage in and assess my capabilities in a wide range of interests. Firstly, I learned that I was quite capable of expressing myself in the academic setting. This particular skill has manifested itself in my academic pursuits since childhood. Secondly, I came to recognize that I had excellent organization skills. Therefore, I tended to be highly confident when the task I engaged in required planning and organization. In this phase, I also started to compare my abilities with those of my peers. For instance, I used to compare my athletic abilities with those of my friends. The outcome of this stage is that I developed a sense of pride and accomplishment in my abilities.

Identity vs. Role Confusion

This stage spans the period of my life from 12 to 18 years. This period chiefly concerns the development of my identity and personality. During puberty, I started to come to terms with the fact that I was a member of society and that I should start to seriously contemplate how I wanted to contribute to society. For instance, I started to explore a wide range of career options to gauge which line of profession best suited my skills, talents, and personality. During this stage, I widely consulted with my parent and teachers who offered valuable advice on career choices. I received plenty of encouragement from my teachers who helped me to recognize how my strengths could align with certain career paths.

Intimacy and Isolation

This stage covers the period from early adulthood to middle adulthood. Throughout my adulthood, I have tended to pursue a loving and intimate relationship with romantic partners. I value close and committed relationships over isolation. In terms of marriage, I intend to enter a lifelong monogamous union with a preferred partner. I fully intend to have children. The children will offer an opportunity to engage in parenting and to nurture new members of society.

Generativity vs. Stagnation

This phase spans the period of my life from middle adulthood to retirement. Firstly, this phase will offer an excellent opportunity to parent and nurture my children into their adulthood. I hope to shape my children into upright people who contribute positively to society. During this phase, I will be productive in my professional endeavors and hope that I leave a lasting impact within my profession or a particular organization. I also intend to engage in a lot of volunteering as a way of giving back to society and helping the less disadvantaged.

Integrity vs. Despair

In this last phase of psychosocial development, I have a high level of satisfaction with my life. Firstly, I have raised educated and upright children who are important members of society. Secondly, I am satisfied that my accomplishment at work and contribution to my profession has stood the test of time. I am satisfied that the people I have mentored have benefited from my wisdom. I continue to mentor young people and to prepare them to face life challenges. Additionally, I donate frequently to schools, hospitals, and charity organizations.


Upon my death, I wish to be remembered as a person who left society a better place than it was when I came into it. I want to be remembered as a caring and nurturing person who was never too busy for other people. I hope that people will remember me as a person who was passionate about what they did and never gave less than 100 percent in whatever I did. I want to have a funeral that will be attended by my family members, friends, and colleagues from over the years. My eulogy will read that I was a good person, a great friend, and an even better parent.




Lewis, R. (2020). Erikson’s 8 Stages of Psychosocial Development, Explained for Parents. Healthline.

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