Basic Conflict

Important  Events


(birth to 18
Trust vs.

Children develop a sense of trust when caregivers provide consistent reliability, care, and affection. A lack or disruption of care can lead to mistrust/suspicion of others in adult life.

Early Childhood
(2 to 3 years)
Autonomy vs. Shame and
Toilet Training  

Children need to develop a sense of personal control over physical skills and a sense of independence. Success leads to feelings of  autonomy and confidence, failure can result in feelings of shame and doubt in adult life.

(3 to 5
Initiative vs.

Children need to begin asserting control and power over their environment. Success in this stage leads to a sense of purpose. Children who try to exert too much power experience disapproval, resulting in a sense of guilt. This could result in an avoidance of interaction with others in adult life.

School Age
(6 to 11
Industry vs.

Children need to cope with new social and academic demands. Success leads to a sense of competence, while failure could result in feelings of inferiority in the adult life.

(12 to 18 years)
Identity vs. Role Confusion Social Relationships  

Teens need to develop a sense of self and personal identity. Success leads to an ability to stay true to yourself, while failure could lead to role confusion and a weak sense of identity.

Young Adulthood
(19 to 40 years)
Intimacy vs.

Young adults begin to become more intimate and begin to establish deeper connections. Success leads to an ability to give and take affection and handle intimacy. Failure could result in feelings of loneliness, isolation and sadness.

Middle Adulthood
(40 to 65 years)
Generativity vs. Stagnation Work and Parenthood  

Adults need to create or nurture things that will outlast them, often by having children or being successful in their career or hobbies by having an impact on the society/community. Success leads to feelings of usefulness and accomplishment, while failure  could result in shallow involvement in the world and therefore, dissatisfaction.

(65 to  death)
Ego Integrity vs. Despair Reflection on Life  

Older adults need to look back on life and feel a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Success at this stage leads to feelings of wisdom, while failure may result  in regret, bitterness, and despair.