By Dr. Lawrence Wilson

© June 2015, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.


The chart below is from  While some people challenge the idea of the stages of psychosexual or psychosocial development, many authorities in psychology acknowledge that these stages do exist.


Approximate Ages

Freud's Stages of Psychosexual Development

Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development

Birth to 1 year

Oral Stage

A child's primary source of pleasure is through the mouth, via sucking, eating and tasting.

Trust vs Mistrust

Children learn to either trust or mistrust their caregivers.

1-3 years

Anal Stage

Children gain a sense of mastery and competence by controlling bladder and bowel movements.

Autonomy vs. Doubt

Children develop self-sufficiency by controlling activities such as eating, toilet training and talking.

3-6 years

Phallic Stage

The libido's energy is focused on the genitals. Children begin to identify with their same-sex parent.

Initiative vs. Guilt

Children begin to take more control over their environment.

7-11 years

Latent Period

The libido's energy is suppressed and children are focused on other activities such as school, friends and hobbies.

Industry vs Inferiority

Children develop a sense of competence by mastering new skills.


Genital Stage

Children begin to explore romantic relationships.

Identity vs Role Confusion

Children develop a personal identify and sense of self.


According to Freud, the genital stage lasts throughout adulthood. He believed the goal is to develop a balance between all areas of life.

Intimacy vs Isolation

Young adults seek out romantic love and companionship.

Generativity vs Stagnation

Middle-aged adults nurture others and contribute to society.

Integrity vs Despair

Older adults reflect on their lives, looking back with a sense of fulfillment or bitterness.




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