Failure to establish a belief in the possibility of satisfying relationships in the first, oral sensory, of Erik Erikson’s eight epigenetic stages of the growth of the self. Basic mistrust leads to social withdrawal and despair.
Mistrust-trust is not an all-or-none phenomenon, and infants with complete mistrust tend to die or lack contact with reality while those with predominant mistrust with a little admixture of trust tend to be shy, hypersensitive to
rejection, and suspicious. Infants develop a mistrust of the world when there is a failure of their efforts to interact with the world to produce significant need satisfaction, as when they are severely neglected.