Analytical Review of Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory

8 Stages of Psychosocial Development

Life stage
(years) Important events Crisis/conflict
(x versus y) Ego-strength / virtue Effect of positive resolution of developmental crisis Effect of negative resolution of developmental crisis

Infancy 0 to 1 ½ years Feeding Trust/Mistrust Hope Development of Trust and feeling of safety Mistrust in people and fear

Early childhood 2-3 years Potty Training/ Exposure with genitalia Autonomy / Shame & Doubt Will Feeling of Control and sense of Independence Sense of Inadequacy and Self Doubt

Play age 3-5 years Exploration of world outside the body Initiative / Guilt Purpose Sense of Purpose and Initiative building Sense of Guilt and embarrassment leading to lack of confidence

School age 6-11 years School & interaction Industry / Inferiority Competence Development of self confidence Inferiority complex through life

Adolescence 12-18 years Social relationship with people Identity/ Confusion of roles Fidelity Feeling of self-independence and establishment of control Insecurity, confusion and paranoia

Early adulthood 19-40 Intimate Relationships Intimacy / Isolation Love Strong relationships with people Isolation, loneliness and possible depression

Adulthood 40-65 Work (responsibility) and parental role Generativity / Stagnation Care Active participation in society, charity initiatives Feeling of uselessness and lack of involvement in society

Old age 65 to Death Self-reflection about whole life Ego Integrity/ Despair Wisdom A general feeling of satisfaction and achievement Feeling of dissatisfaction and despair

Psychobiography of Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche had a content childhood in his early years (1st stage) as his family environment was stable and stimulating. Despite of the turmoil of war in the surroundings, he did not have an impact of the situation as the family lived in a small village detached from the war-affected regions. He was being raised by his mother who became widowed later but was able to raise Nietzsche well. The childhood phase of Nietzsche was uninterrupted till the death of which turned into a lack of security for Nietzsche. He faced a change of environment after a death of his father which made his attitude defensive towards things. (Mann, 2006) His play age passed with exploration of natural landscape around his home but the death of his father left a huge mark.
Nietzsche’s lifestyle was filled with experimental living in the phase of school life by engaging in social activities and was also found to be politically active. The school age remained a time of social activity for him built self-confidence in him. In the age of adolescence, he was found to engage in drinking and other unruly behavior despite scoring very well in class, thus depicting a confusion of roles. He was exposed to fatalities and suffering of others due to his time in the military. It led to him to write the book “The Birth of Tragedy“ (Hollingdale, 1965). In the stage of early adulthood, he failed to develop meaningful relationships with people in general and did not get intimate with a person on a long term level. This lead to a feeling of isolation throughout his further life.
He became a professor in philology which lasted for ten years and did not allow him freedom of time to write. In the phase of adulthood, he did participate in work because he was interested in doing so in the company of friends and because it made him feel a part of society in some way. He did not develop care but managed to become a part of society in some way He actually wanted to contribute his time to philosophy and he could contribute all his time to his writing after his career ended due to his ill health which lasted for years to come. In his later years he turned out to be an influential and critical person. (Jackson, 2011) He did not encounter the phase of old age as he passed away at the age of 56.
Nietzsche was not able to resolve crises which arose during his years in the military which led him to lead him a solitary life when he became a professor. He also realized in the war that it serves no purpose other than its own. After his career started he came across fulfilling his responsibilities. He had confidence in his childhood which led him to become a professor and a writer (with him being expressive) but his adulthood experiences of intimacy were absent due to his time in war which led him to lead a very isolated life of writing. (Eriskson, 1968)
Nietzsche did not get intimate in his adulthood stages but had a drive towards academics and philosophy. He had a long and intimate relationship with his friends. Due to his lack of intimate relationships and his traumatic experience in the war, he became very objective about life and his mindset turned philosophical leading him to have anti-religious views.
Eriskson, E. H. (1968). Youth: Identity and Crisis. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Hollingdale, R. J. (1965). Nietzsche:The man and his philosophy. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Jackson, R. (2011). Nietzsche made simple. London: Hodder Education.
Mann, H. (2006). The Essential Nietzsche. New York: Dover publications, Inc.


Posted on

March 8, 2018

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