Stages of Personality Development in Psychology

How much do you know about your personality? If you’re like most people, you probably think you know yourself pretty well. But the truth is, there’s a lot more to personality development than meets the eye. In psychology, there are different stages of personality development that we go through as we grow and mature. These stages are important to understand because they can help us make sense of our own behaviours and motivations, as well as those of others. Keep reading to learn more about the stages of personality development in psychology.

Freud’s Stages of Personality Development

Freud believed that personality developed through a series of stages. He proposed that we go through five distinct stages: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. According to Freud, the key to a healthy personality is successful completion of each stage.

The oral stage is the first stage of Freud’s theory. It occurs from birth to around 18 months old. During this stage, the infant’s primary source of pleasure is from oral activities such as sucking and biting. The anal stage is the second stage of Freud’s theory. It occurs from around 18 months to three years old. During this stage, the child’s primary focus is on controlling their bowel movements. The third stage, the phallic stage, occurs from three to six years old. During this time, the child begins to develop sexual feelings for members of the opposite sex. The fourth stage, latency, occurs from six years old to puberty. This is a period of relative calm in which sexual feelings are dormant. The final stage, genitalstage , begins at puberty and continues into adulthood . This is when sexual feelings and urges are reawakened and focused on members of the opposite sex

Erikson’s Stages of Personality Development

Erikson’s Stages of Personality Development:

1. infancy: basic trust vs. mistrust.

2. early childhood: autonomy vs. shame and doubt.

3. preschool: initiative vs. guilt.

4. adolescence: industry vs. inferiority.

5. young adulthood: identity vs. role confusion.

6. adulthood: intimacy vs. isolation.

7. middle adulthood: generativity vs. stagnation.

8. late adulthood: ego integrity vs despair.

Comparison of Freud’s and Erikson’s Theories

Freud’s and Erikson’s theories about personality development have both been influential in the field of psychology. However, there are some key differences between the two theories.

For one, Freud’s theory is much more focused on sexuality than Erikson’s theory. Freud believed that sexual urges were a major driving force behind human behavior, and he made this a central part of his theory. In contrast, Erikson believed that sexuality was just one aspect of a person’s development, and not necessarily the most important one.

Another difference is that Freud’s theory is much more pessimistic than Erikson’s theory. Freud believed that humans are fundamentally driven by their unconscious desires, which often lead to conflict and suffering. In contrast, Erikson believed that humans have the potential to grow and develop throughout their lives, and that even difficult experiences can be used to help people grow in positive ways.

Other Stages of Personality Development

While the stages of personality development outlined above are the most commonly cited, it’s important to remember that not everyone will fit perfectly into these categories. Personality development is a lifelong process, and there are many other factors that can influence an individual’s personality. For example, family and culture play a big role in shaping who we are, and our experiences throughout life can also have a significant impact.


Personality development is a lifelong process that begins in childhood and continues throughout our lives. The different stages of personality development are believed to be influenced by both nature and nurture, as we learn from our experiences and adopt new behaviors and attitudes. Our personalities are constantly evolving as we grow and mature, so it’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. Who knows, you might just surprise yourself!

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