According to Erickson, how can conflict in the first stage of development be resolved?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This is the first, foundational stage in a person's development and occurs between birth and eighteen months. At this point, according to Erickson, an individual develops his or her basic orientation toward the world. Do they trust the world as a safe place where their needs are met? Do they...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

This is the first, foundational stage in a person's development and occurs between birth and eighteen months. At this point, according to Erickson, an individual develops his or her basic orientation toward the world. Do they trust the world as a safe place where their needs are met? Do they develop hope? This is resolved in a positive way if the infant is given consistent care and has their basic needs met in a reliable way. If the child is fed when hungry, comforted when frightened, and given loving attention, he or she will develop a foundation of trust in the world and hope for the future.

However, this first stage can be resolved in a negative way as well: if the child's needs are not met consistently or if he or she is not treated lovingly or given positive attention, this individual will become anxious and distrustful of the world. This person will feel less optimistic and have a harder time developing relationships because of not being able to believe that people will be there or be reliable.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The first stage within Erikson's theory of psychosocial development occurs from birth to approximately one year of age and is known as trust vs. mistrust. During this stage, an infant experiences the conflict of whether to trust or to not trust that his or her caregiver(s) will take care of his or her needs. This particular conflict can be resolved in two different ways. The first, more desirable, way is that the infant learns to trust his or her caregiver(s) once the infant experiences his or her needs being met on a consistent basis. The less desirable outcome is that the infant develops a sense of mistrust due to his or her caregiver(s) being emotionally unavailable or not providing consistent care. Although there are two ways to resolve the conflict of this stage, the successful resolution results in the infant developing a sense of trust.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team