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The Epigenetics Theory as explained by Erikson (The Stages of Development)

Updated on February 17, 2012

Ego Psychology

The Epigenetics Theory as explained by Erikson

Every person in his/her lifetime experienced abandonment. A short duration or longer span time, yet this left a scar that marks his/her life. In the Epigenetics theory as explained by Erikson, he believed that childhood is very important in ones Stages of Personal Growth; one's family upbringing builds up on these stages. Thus, he called it the Ego Psychology for it enables to identify it in each stage the life of a person.

These are its tenets:

The ego is utmost important

It must operate independently.

It must adapt to situations.

Here are the stages and its concepts:

Stage 1: Basic Trust versus Mistrust

Developing trust is the first role of the ego; in this stage maternal relationship must be established in order for the child not to develop rage and anxiety. If this persists, it will develop in a child the concept that one is unwanted thus the child will withdraw and does not open up oneself to others.

Stage 2: Autonomy versus Shame

If a child is subjected to shame the child will turn against oneself the ability to manipulate and discriminate. In this case shame develops as well as self doubt. In severe cases, it will develop to paranoia.

Stage 3: Initiative versus Guilt

Initiative is the ability to undertake responsibilities, plans and tasks. This also determines a person’s capability to become active and on the move. If a child is denied on this stage it will result to castration, thus one feels guilty if one shows exuberant enjoyment on ones actions restricting him/herself and is only allowed on permissible goals of an adult life.

Stage 4: Industry versus Inferiority

Productive outcomes spring largely from a child's whims and play. To violate that, a child may pull back from industry and tends to become isolated and less conscious of familial rivalry, he/she becomes a conformist and thoughtless slave whom others exploit.

Stage 6: Intimacy versus Isolation

The body and ego must be masters of organ modes in order to face the fear of organ loss in cases of self abandon. The infringement of these experiences leads to isolation and self – absorption; thus, a child abhors intimacy and may lead to character problems.

Stage 7: Generativity and Stagnation

This is the ability to look forward to having successors and guide them in order to become better citizens. The opposite of this is not caring whether the descendants will be successful in their lives or not.

Stage 8: Ego Integrity versus Despair

This is the accumulated assurance of a person on his/her experiences in life. It his/her capacity to find meaning in life; despair signifies the loss of self - sufficiency, and love from friends and partner.
Healthy children as Erikson said will not fear life if their elders have the integrity not to fear death.


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    • raciniwa profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      Hello swati...sorry to have responded later...thank you also for dropping by...

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks a lot for putting this theory here. It was of great help. I have searched a lot about this theory on internet, but could not find good and precise content.

    • raciniwa profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      hello Mirry,

      i am glad to be of help and i am happy to know that you have taken your time to bookmark my work...

      best regard...

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hey There. I fοund your bl g u ing msn. his is a er ell written arlctie.I will make sur to bookm rk t and return t read mor of your u eful inf .Thank for the po t. I'll definitely return.

    • raciniwa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      yes, sort of...thank you also for taking the time to read this...

    • Poohgranma profile image


      8 years ago from On the edge

      Very interesting. I can see you put a lot of research into this hub.

    • raciniwa profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      thank you as always Lord...and i'm very honored for your commendation...yeah, that's the problem in our society, for our parents were also parented in the what the present generation can do is awareness of the consciousness in order not to repeat our history for we have the tendency to do so...

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 

      8 years ago from New York

      Glad I'm the first to comment my dear honest and unconditional follower,

      Epigenetics by the root from latin tells us about the alter ego developed from interdependence relatiinships ang genetics as well. Is amazing how we look back on our own upbringing and catch up with some truth to this theory. Since History is my strong background, I can CONFIRM that this theory is close to a reality instead. So many kids left in despair ..from Steve Jobs to Rousseau and Leonardo Davinci, all of them passed the threshold of immortality after rasint themselves from total loss. Thanks my friend and this comment is a pay back... for your insightful comments toward my hubs.



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