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What Is Conflict?



According to Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development, a conflict is a turning point during which an individual struggles to attain some psychological quality. Sometimes referred to as a psychosocial crisis, this can be a time of both vulnerability and strength, as the individual works toward success or failure.

For example, in Erikson's first stage of psychosocial development the conflict centers on trust versus mistrust. In the earliest stages of a child's life, they are learning whether they can trust the people around them. Children who learn that they can trust and depend on their caregivers emerge with a sense of security and safety. Those who are not able to trust their caregivers may be left with the feeling that the world is unreliable.

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Also Known As: Psychosocial Crisis

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