The trust versus mistrust stage is the first stage of Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. This stage occurs between birth and approximately 18 months of age and is the most fundamental stage in life. Because an infant is utterly dependent, the development of trust is based on the dependability and quality of the child's caregivers. If a child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and secure in the world. Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or rejecting contribute to feelings of mistrust in the children they care for. Failure to develop trust will result in fear and a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable. Learn more about trust versus mistrust.
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