Erikson, Erik

Erik Erikson (1902–1994) was a developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst, known for his theory of psychosocial development. He is credited with the idea of an identity crisis, in which a person must resolve a conflict (or face a crisis) in order to develop psychological traits important to that stage of life. Erikson’s theory has been critical to an understanding of childhood as a significant factor in identity development throughout the life span. This entry examines Erikson’s early life and career, his theory of psychosocial development, and surveys some critiques of this theory.

Early Life and Professional Career

Erikson was born Erik Salomonsen on June 15, 1902, in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, to Karla Abrahamsen, who was married to, but estranged from, Valdemar Isidor Salomonsen. Abrahamsen married Theodor Homburger in ...

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