September 19, 2011
Life Span Perspective
Development begins at birth and continues throughout one’s entire life. According to Smith (1999, para.4), “The first and obvious element is change - that development involves movement from one state to another.” Whether it’s physically, mentally, or both, all individuals experience transitions as they move through the different life spans. 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. Factors such as culture, genetics, and environmental influences all play significant roles in life span development. Each span of an individual’s life is characterized by differing stages of development. The life span perspective of development is not limited to any one specific age or stage of life, which is one of the primary aspects of the life span perspective. This perspective is also diverse in the fact 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 in time as the individual progresses through the stages of life. The multicontextual principle focuses primarily on the effects of one’s surrounding...