Sigmund Freud theory of personality


According to Sigmund Freud theory of personality development is one of the most popular and also most controversial theories of modern psychiatry Freud believe that an individual needed successful complete develop a healthy personality can be defined as the various enduring and distinctive pattern of behaviour and though that are characteristic of a particular person some believe that it is as a result of the expression of genetically determined trait others claim they are creations shaped by environment influence while yet other attribute it to the produce of interaction between nature and nurture of the earliest theories of personality development was given by the father of psychiatry Sigmund Freud emphasize the role of childhood experience in shaping adult personality.    He claim that childhood experience are repeated through out life and are critical in determine ones adult relationship.

It is now know that childhood experience is pivotal in creating neural network that shape personality and person expectation of how other will respond to them. According to Freud, each individual progress through these shapes his / her personality. Freud experience with his patient led him to believe that our current problem are the result of conflict early life thus, he thought that only by look at the past can one understand present behavior. He also became convinced the progress through five stages of development and that our adult personality is determined by the way we resolved conflict between our basic bodily urges and the demand of reality. When these conflicts are not resolved, we become fixation at the particular stages of development.

Freud five stages of development are

  • Oral stage
  • Anal stage
  • Phallic stage
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(4)   Latency stage

  • Genital stage
  • During the Oral stage of personality development of the child: It occurs from birth to around 0-1 one year as the suggest, in this stage a child tries to gratify his libidinal energy through his mouth by sucking, biting, chewing, etc. you would observe children putting everything in their mouth at his age, be it object, toys, or chocolates, oral fixation has two positive outcome, if the person is dissatisfied at his stage. He is characterized by pessimism suspicious, and sarcasm and grows into an adult who reduce tension or anxiety through eating, drinking and smoking etc. some personality is known as oral aggressive personality which is characterized by optimism gullibility and hostility successful resolution of oral stage provide a basic in character for capacity to tract` other as well as have a sense of self reliance and self trust.
  • Anal stage : it occurs from two to four years, during this stage of personality development, we learn to control immediate gratification from defecation and became responsive to demand of society. Urination and detection are pleasurable and the child must learn to delay. During this stage children develop personality characteristic related to control (neatness, order ness, etc. reflect toilet training). A child who has difficulty resolving this stage might develop either an anal retentive or anal expulsive personality
  • Phallic stage: According to Freud, it is during this stage of development (ages 4-7years) that the child obtain reification from the genitals, they become aware of their sexuality and repress sexual urges. Freud viewed the Oedipus complex as an important source of conflict as it represented rivalry with the same sex and love the opposite sex. As the child develops they eventually accept the close relationship between parent and learns to identify with the same sex parent and model their behaviour. The electoral complex the opposite of the Oedipus complex and follows a different course. Freud fact that when girls realized they do not have a penis they develop penis envy. They then attempt to symbolically acquire one by attaching their love to their father, he went further to say that for women this complex is never entirely resolved but des dissipate over time as girl begin to take on the role of the mother Freud’s cultural biases are revealed in his theories. he saw women weaker and less rational and believe they should be subservient to men. Adult personality problem of this state involves sexuality (vanity, promiscuity, worry about chastity) during this stage, the pattern of identification that emerge from phallic phrase are the development of human character, according to Freud, this stage gives rise to powerful internal resource for regulation of drive impulses and their direction to constructive end know as the super ego
  • Latency stage: it is during this stage of personality development when children are between seven to ten years, when children express no psychosexual development. According to Freud he say that sexual urges fears, and frustration were repressed and energy was channeled into social or achievement related activities in this stage children suppress their sexual such as, schools, athletics, hobbies, social relationship friendship. With same sex e.t.c
  • The Genital stage: this genital stage or adolescent phase extends from the onset of puberty at around 12 to 18 years and continue to young adulthood. The physiological maturation of system of sexual functioning and associated hormonal system leads to an intensification of drive and impulse. The primary objective of this stage is the ultimate separation from dependence on and attachment to the parent and the establishment of adult, mature relationship. The person reaches a satisfying capacity for sat realization and meaningful participation in the area of work and love roles and duties. On the other hand children who are fixated in earlier stages especially phallic stages find it difficult to gel with opposite sex.



Stage YearsCharacterized by
Oral state0-1 yearsA child drives pressure through mouth by sucking, biting and swallowing etc. conflict arises when the viral need are not met.
Anal stage2-4 yearsAnus becomes the center of the gratification as that training start and the pleasure is derived by defecating or   retaining faces
Phalli stage4-7 yearsGenitals become the center of the gratification and the children develop attraction towards the parent of opposite sex. Boys suffer from Oedipus complex and girl suffers from electoral conflict.
Latency stage6-12 yearNo psychosexual development occurs in children the libido is diverted toward asexual activities.
Genital stage12-18 yearsIt is the puberty period when sexual urges reawaken that children exploring their sexuality.


Freud theory state that the person development is completed till he reaches adulthood and his sexual experience dominate his behavour throughout his life. However, Freud’s stage of development were and are criticized expert due to overemphasis of his by theory on sexuality without any supportive corroborative that personality development is a continuous process that happens throughout life.


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