Erik Erikson, a psychoanalyst who described the stage-development theory of life in his book Childhood and Society, has died at 91.
Mr. Erikson, who coined the phrase "identity crisis,'' was born in Germany. In 1927, he became a teacher at a private school in Vienna with Anna Freud, the daughter of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. While in Vienna, Mr. Erikson trained to become a psychoanalyst and developed an interest in treating children.
In 1933, Mr. Erikson emigrated to the United States and practiced child psychoanalysis in Boston, joining the faculty at Harvard medical school. Mr. Erikson continued to work extensively in the field of child psychoanalysis, publishing numerous papers. It was not until 1950, however, that he gained widespread recognition, with the publication of Childhood and Society.
The book popularized Mr. Erikson's theory that from infancy through old age there are eight stages, each of which presents a psychosocial crisis that must be overcome in preparation for the next stage in life.
The author's other published works include Young Man Luther, Gandhi's Truth, and Identity, Youth and Crisis.