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Erik Erikson's 8 Stages of PsychosocialDevelopment

Stage 4: Latency

Age: Elementary and Middle School Years -- 6 to 12 years

Conflict: Industry vs. Inferiority

Important Event: School


"In this stage children are learning to see the relationship betweenperseverance and the pleasure of a job completed"(Woolfolk, 1987).The important event at this stage is attendance at school. As a student, thechildren have a need to be productive and do work on their own. They are bothphysically and mentally ready for it. Interaction with peers at school alsoplays an imperative role of child development in this stage. The child for thefirst time has a wide variety of events to deal with, including academics, groupactivities, and friends. Difficulty with any of these leads to a sense ofinferiority.

Elements for a positive outcome:

It is essential for the child at this stage to discover pleasure in beingproductive and the need to succeed. The child's relationship with peers inschool and the neighborhood become increasingly important.

Elements for a negative outcome:

Difficulty with the child's ability to move between the world at home andthe world of peers can lead to feeling of inferiority.


In this stage children want to do productive work on their own. Students areable to water class plants, collect and distribute materials for teacher, andkeep records of forms for teacher.

Erikson's Stage 5Summary Chart
Introduction to StagesErikson home page