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Life Span Perspective Paper

Essay by   •  December 13, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  870 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,955 Views

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Life Span Perspective Paper

Development begins at birth and continues throughout one's entire life. Individuals experience transitions as they move through the different life spans whether it is physically, mentally, or both. The typical stages of development that humans go through include: childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood. As individuals progress from one stage of life to the next there are a variety of factors that influence the unique development from one person to the next. Culture, genetics, and environmental influences play significant roles in life span development.

An individual's life will be characterized by differing stages of development. The life span perspective of development is not limited to any specific age or stage of life, which is one of the primary aspects of the life span perspective. This perspective is also diverse that changes can occur on a social, cognitive, or physical level (Smith, 1999). According to Berger (2008) there are five primary principles that can be applied when examining the various stages of an individual's life span. These principles include: multidirectional, multicontextual, multicultural, multidisciplinary, and plasticity.

Five Principles of Development

The first principle, multidirectional, takes into account the variations that exist in reference to developmental changes throughout one's life span. The main facet of the multidirectional principle is that change is ultimately unpredictable; therefore these developmental changes can go in any direction at any point as the individual progresses through the stages of life. The multicontextual principle focuses primarily on the effects of one's surrounding environment and how these factors influence one's development. This can include one's physical environment as well as familial influences. Multicultural principles are focuses on the cultural influences that can impact one's individual development. Culture is a significant factor in majority of people lives, which means that it ultimately influences how they develop throughout their lifetime. The multidisciplinary principle encompasses the biosocial, cognitive, and psychosocial domains that influence an individual's life span development. According to the last principle, plasticity, an individual's development can be shaped or modified, to an extent, by life experiences (Berger, 2008).

Theories of Life Span Development

The theories that have been developed regarding human life span development typically derive from fields of psychology such as psychoanalysis, behaviorism, and cognitive approaches. Freud's psychoanalytic theory of human development focuses on the unconscious driving factors that influence development as well as behavior. Freud's theory is also referred to as the



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