Eight stages of personality development according to Erik Erikson. Theory of psychosocial development.

Today in psychology there are more than 50 theories that describe the concept of “personality”. Each of them tells in its own way how the formation of personality takes place. But they are all united in the fact that each person lives through the stages of personality formation in a way that no one has lived before and no one will live after. ...
A fairly common question that worries modern society is why one person gets everything: he is successful in all spheres of life, respected and loved, while the other is so unhappy and only degenerates? To get the gist and answer this question, one should operate with knowledge of the factors of personality development that have a direct impact on the life of a particular person. It is extremely important to know how the stages of personality formation went through, what new abilities, properties and qualities appeared in the process of life, always taking into account the role of family and friends.

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Today in our article we will look at the process of personality formation , as well as what obstacles a person faces along this path.

Basic concept

Periods of development are the main stages in the formation of a person as an individual. Traditionally, they begin in infancy, but some experts also tend to highlight embryonic development.

Various factors can serve as the basis for identifying stages of life. For example, from a legal point of view, childhood lasts up to 18 years (in some countries up to 21 years). At this time, a person has limited rights.

From the psychological and biological side, there is adolescence, which is accompanied by serious changes in the body. It manifests itself at the age of 12-13 years and ends by 17-18 years.

An important criterion for assessing children is the age periodization of development. It is this that allows you to understand what skills and abilities a child should have by a certain time. For example, when he should sit down or crawl, say the first word, etc.

Important! Any deviation from these norms gives parents cause for concern.

In psychology, there is still the concept of crises that appear at a certain age. With their help, qualitative changes occur in the psyche. They occur not only in children, but also in adults.

The approximate time of occurrence of crises is the moment of birth, 1 year, 3 years, 7 years, 12-13 years, 25 years, 40 years. Such a division is quite arbitrary, since each person has his own developmental characteristics.

The degree of manifestation can be both weak and strong

Psychologists, philosophers, and biologists have their own views on the periods of human development. This term can be understood as both physical and spiritual changes in personality.

Is age really that important?

Age periodization is a very relative concept. There is no need to strive with all our might to prolong youth: nature will take its course, and our task is to find something valuable and beautiful in each of the stages we have passed through. Yes, it is worth taking into account the physiological and mental characteristics of each period. But they should be accepted not as a fatal inevitability, but as a resource with which you can live as fully as possible.

You yourself have the right to decide by what indicators to highlight certain life intervals. Not only external beauty, youth and physical activity are important. What matters is how you feel about yourself, what plans and dreams you have and how you want to live your precious time.

Periodization of mental development

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It is customary to distinguish two types of age. Physical is easy to calculate from the moment of birth. It is more difficult to calculate the mental one, since it cannot be tied to any date.

Psychologists do not have a consensus on what periodization should be. Thus, Jean Piaget made his classification based on intellectual development:

  1. From the moment of birth until the age of two, the sensorimotor stage lasts. At this stage, the child explores a new world for him and actively interacts with it.
  2. From two to seven years, the preoperative stage begins. During this period, children manipulate objects.
  3. From seven to twelve years of age, actions become concrete, abstract thinking appears, and the child can study at school.
  4. After twelve years, the period of formal operations begins. Children develop their first scientific thinking skills; they operate entirely with abstract concepts. They can understand long-term perspectives and put themselves in other people's shoes.

Slobodchikov developed a slightly different classification. He identified four stages:

  1. There was a revival for about a year.
  2. From one to six years of age - animation, during this period the child understands himself as a living person.
  3. From six to eighteen years old - personalization. Children are aware of their individuality.
  4. From eighteen to forty years – individualization. During this period, a person strives to understand his place in the world.

The stages of periodization can be called differently, it all depends on the author of the classification. Distever simply identified three stages: the dominance of sensation, the dominance of memory, the dominance of reason. He did not tie them to any age.

Old age and time of reflection

The eighth stage is old age (from 65 years). In retirement, all that remains is to reflect on the journey you have made and take care of your grandchildren (if you have them). A person can choose integrity or hopelessness. Positive experience is associated with the feeling of satisfaction that arises when analyzing the life lived. Otherwise, there is a feeling of hopelessness, since nothing can be changed. Along with this comes despair and endless thoughts about missed opportunities and mistakes made.

Age periods of human development

Age periodization continues to be studied, since there is no single classification that would meet the needs of all specialists. In medicine, it is customary to distinguish several stages of human development:

  • infancy;
  • childhood;
  • preschool;
  • junior school;
  • secondary school;
  • high school senior;
  • youth;
  • maturity;
  • old age.

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Dividing into stages is necessary in order to better understand at what time certain skills, abilities, and ideas about life appear.

Division by year

Up to one month, the baby is considered a newborn. He only has a few reflexes and is weak and completely helpless. Until one year old, he is considered an infant. With each month of his life he acquires more and more skills and abilities. He sits down, crawls, stands up, looks at the world, recognizes his parents, etc.

Important! During the infancy period, you need to carefully monitor the baby's development, since many disorders can be identified at this age.

From one to three years of age, early childhood begins. At this time, the baby confidently walks, plays and talks.

During this period, the child actively explores the world

Junior preschool age lasts from three to five years. At this time, kids learn to interact with each other, master object-based activities and improve their understanding of play. At this time they study, they develop knowledge about the world, mathematics, art, etc.

Senior preschool age lasts from 5 to 7 years. A role-playing game appears, children actively perform, sing and read poetry, and dance. They start getting ready for school. During this period they actively work in the group.

Junior school age lasts from 7 to 10 years. Students are able to study diligently and absorb new information. They become the leading educational activity.

Adolescence lasts from 10 to 14 years. Social interaction is important for the child at this time. Puberty occurs, which brings physiological changes. Children's mood and attitude towards life can change dramatically.

Early adolescence lasts from 14 to 18 years. During this period, children are looking for their place in life, trying out jobs and trying to become independent. They develop a worldview, ideals, and values.

Adolescence occurs between the ages of 17 and 20. Final self-determination occurs. Boys serve in the army, after which they go to work or study. From 20 to 30 years of age, a person’s life is at its best. He evaluates his capabilities and tries to achieve something.

Maturity lasts from 30 to 70 years. At this time, people begin to experience life. They begin to value not only education, but also certain everyday knowledge and ideas about the world. After 70 years, late maturity begins. A person takes stock of his life and strives to pass on his knowledge to young people.

The boundaries of age divisions are very arbitrary. Some children develop faster, others slower. Therefore, a particular individual may exhibit deviations. The most difficult thing is to determine psychological maturity. Some people will still be dependent and childish even at 25 years old.

Early childhood and first independent steps

The second phase is early childhood (1-3 years). The baby begins to learn independence. He performs simple tasks - moving objects, walking, climbing, etc. The child strives to use new skills everywhere, so he himself tries to open candy, go to the toilet, fill the box with things, etc. When parents do not put pressure on the baby, do not rush him and allow him to perform any actions independently, he feels control over the situation and his body, acquiring an important social skill - independence.

If the teacher does not allow the child to do the work himself, which he is capable of doing, then he develops a feeling of shyness, the child becomes indecisive. Situations when parents rush a child occur in every family. Rare cases will not leave a noticeable mark on the child’s psyche. Systematic diligence to do everything for the baby and an overly emotional reaction to his mistakes (broken dishes, soiled clothes, etc.) will lead to uncertainty and shyness.

Acquired negative qualities will manifest themselves at all stages of life. An independent person is more prepared for life and can easily solve basic problems. Further events can change these qualities (independence gives way to uncertainty and vice versa), so those close to them should never doubt the child’s skills.

Critical moments

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Periodization of age-related development allows us to highlight the points that are needed to move to a new level. This is often understood as crises and mastering new skills and abilities.

At one year old, the child begins to walk and actively explore the world. Under the influence of the environment, his first ideas about life are formed. At three years old (some children are 1.5 years old) he is sent to kindergarten, and he experiences a second crisis. At this moment he has to learn to interact with other people. He undergoes socialization, the first stage of training, and masters various types of activities.

Important! Without socialization, it will be difficult for a child to study and communicate with peers.

A new period begins with the transition to school. There he learns to interact with teachers and other children. He has to plan activities, learn responsibility and other things.

Adolescence is also sometimes called adolescence. At this time, the child wants to separate from his parents and show his adulthood. He wants to defend his values ​​and gain recognition among his peers.

After graduating from school, a person is faced with the question: continue studying or go to work. Each option brings its own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the individual chooses the further path himself.

At about 25-30 years old, a person sums up the first results of his life: what he has achieved, what he has missed, and whether anything can still be corrected. He usually already has experience in relationships; at some points he could be disappointed.

From 30 to 40 years of age, professional development occurs. An individual tries to develop in his field, improve his skills and learn something new. After 40 years, everything becomes relatively calm, and a person stops worrying about the future.

In adulthood, life takes stock

Of particular concern may be that the child limit is usually reached at age 45. Women begin menopause. With retirement, a reassessment of values ​​occurs again, and a person looks for new activities in life.

In general, the age categories of people by year have very relative values. Much depends on the individual’s personal feelings, his health and psychological state.

For critical moments in development to occur, the prerequisites must be in place. For example, at the age of 30 a person compares himself with his peers, highlights what they have achieved, this gives him reasons for reflection.

The beginning of each life period can be distinguished very conditionally. No one begins a stage at the moment of their birthday. Even the timing of puberty is very individual.

Maturity and common humanity

The seventh phase is maturity (26-64 years). A person decides on a profession, children grow up and go their own way. The way out of the current crisis is considered to be universal humanity or self-absorption. The first parameter is associated with interest in other people, future generations, forms of society, and the future structure of the world. A person may not have his own family, but communicate closely with young people and become imbued with their problems. If you fail to develop empathy, then you can only take care of yourself and your interests.

Different views

In psychology, there is no consensus on what age categories of people there are. Each specialist identified his own stages and justified the solution with different views on the problem.


The most common ideas are about the age periods of a person’s life, which were derived by Elkonin. He divided the entire stage of human existence into early childhood, preschool age, and school age.

He developed his classification only for children, i.e. before reaching 18 years of age. It is this that has become the main one for use in the educational field. Elkonin believed that further division was impossible. The whole problem is that adults have a wide variety of paths.

Important! Depending on the situation in the country, generations' ideas about life changed.

After 18 years, it is difficult to distinguish any age periods. Too many factors influence a person: training, work, military service, etc. Each individual has his own feelings and values ​​that influence his actions.


In ancient times, scientists also had many ideas about the world around them. The emergence of the Pythagorean theory is associated with the change of seasons. So, he believed that spring is the moment of the appearance of life, the beginning of existence, therefore this time of year is associated with birth.

The summer period correlated with growing up. At this time, a person flourished and demonstrated his best qualities. This time can also be called the stage of vigorous growth.

Autumn is the time of maturity, when a person is wise by experience and knows what he wants from life. The individual becomes wise, balanced and willing to accept different points of view.

Winter is the fading of life that comes with old age. A person is not afraid of death, since he understands well that his life has come to an end.


The peculiarity of the scientist’s approach was that he managed to connect periods of stability and crisis. At the moment of birth, the baby falls into a crisis, then develops calmly until one year and then falls into a crisis again.

At one year of age, a child faces a developmental critical point.

The next crisis occurs for three years, after which peace lasts up to seven years. The human psyche is formed under the influence of a new environment. Therefore, you should not be afraid of the appearance of critical moments, as they are needed to improve the functioning of the body.

The child learns to recognize his own feelings. Therefore, during the teenage crisis, he studies himself, his attractiveness and experiences his first love. He is interested not only in accepted norms, but also in something forbidden.

Vygotsky also emphasized that crises accompany a person throughout his life. Some of his followers are confident that an individual experiences them every decade.


The psychoanalyst also contributed to the development of ideas about age periodization. Its periods began to be named according to what skill the child mastered at a certain stage of development.

The first is oral. The baby can suck on the breast or bottle, and satiation brings him pleasure. Anal – lasts from one to three years, at this time the child learns to control the urge to go to the toilet.

During the preschool period, the baby experiences the phallic stage, i.e. is aware of his gender

The latent stage lasts from 6 to 12 years. At this time, children are interested in the social sphere. Genital – begins at age 12 and lasts until age 18. During this period, the teenager becomes aware of sexuality.

Philosophy, psychology, sociology, and biology have their own views on age periodization. There is no consensus among experts yet.

Youth and loneliness

The sixth stage of development is youth (20-25 years). Youth is already ending, but maturity has not yet arrived. In classical psychoanalysis, nothing important happens during this period of life. But Erickson notes that at this time a person builds conscious relationships (love or friendship), so intimacy or loneliness awaits him.

In youth, it is important to feel intimacy not as a physical parameter, but as an emotional one. The individual learns to care and share his innermost without fear of losing himself. The success of passing the age period depends to a large extent on the presence of positive experience.

Social conditions will help or hinder the achievement of goals. The concept of intimacy applies not only to intimate relationships, but also to friendly ones. An excellent example of such relationships can be seen between people who served together and went through difficult life situations. If it is not possible to achieve the proper level of intimacy with anyone, loneliness awaits the person.

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