Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson are two most influential psychoanalytic theorists that proposed their theories regarding personality development. Sigmund Freud described personality development based on psychosexual stages, whereas Erik Erikson emphasized personality development based on social influences.
Sigmund Freud proposed the psychosexual theory focuses on the fact that personality is developed in childhood. It consists of five stages and begins from the age of five. On the basis of these five stages, an individual’s personality is developed. From childhood, a person tends to satisfy his or her sexual urges this is because of libido, which is a psychosexual instinct found in humans. As the individual gets older, the point of libido changes and shifts to others areas of the body. According to Freud, life revolves around pleasure and tension. When the tension is transformed into pleasure, the individual is able to have a good personality .
Erik Erikson came up with psychosocial theory which also focused on personality development. However, his theory is different from Freud’s theory. In this theory, there are eight stages of development in an individual’s life. He introduced the social and cultural factors that influence the personality of the individual from childhood till adulthood. Erikson states that ego is satisfied as soon as the individual starts to resolve the issues with the society .
Comparison of Freud’s development stages with Erikson’s development stages:
Freud’s theory is very controversial and there are many psychologists including Erikson who criticized his points. Freud was an id psychologist and Erikson was an ego psychologist . Following are the differences between Freud’s and Erikson’s personality development stages:
- The first stage begins from birth to the age of one. Freud calls this stage Oral Stage while Erikson calls this stage Trust vs. Mistrust. According to Freud, in the oral stage a child focuses on seeking pleasure from the mouth via tasting, sucking or eating. According to Erikson, in the first stage a child discovers who he or she can trust and who he or she cannot trust.
- The second stage starts between one to three years of age. Freud names it anal stage and Erikson names it Autonomy vs. Doubt. Freud believes that at this stage focuses on learning to control bowel movements and bladder. Whereas, Erikson believes that a child focuses on being self-sufficient by being trained to potty, talk or eat by himself or herself.
- The third stage begins from three to six years. Freud calls it Phallic Stage and Erikson calls it Initiative vs. Guilt. Freud says that in this stage, the kid discovers his or her genitals and takes notice of same gender parent. Erikson says that the kid at this stage starts to carefully evaluate his or her surrounding.
- Then comes the adolescence stage; Freud calls it Genital Stage and Erikson names it Identity vs. Role Confusion. Freud states that in it children start to have romantic relationships. Erikson discusses that in this stage children focus on personal identity and their self-esteem needs.
- After adolescence comes adulthood and in this Freud does not propose any points; however Erikson divides adulthood into three stages- the first one is Intimacy vs. Isolation in which the teenager looks out for romantic relationships, the second one is Generativity vs. Stagnation in which teenagers offer social services to the society and the third and last stage is Integrity vs. despair in which adults ponder over their past and either regret or become happy.
McLeod, Saul. Simply Psychology. 2008. Article. 11 December 2013.
—. Simply Psychology. 2008. Article. 11 December 2013.
Roundy, Lisa. Education Portal. n.d. Article. 11 December 2013.