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Life Stages and Development

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Life Development Theories

Charmaine Clarke


September 28, 2016

         Development is the series of age-related changes that happen over the course of a life span. Several famous psychologists, including Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, James Marcia, and Urie Brofenbrenner, describe development as a series of stages. A stage is a period in development in which people exhibit distinctive behavior patterns and establish particular capacities. The various stage theories share three assumptions: People permit through stages in a particular order, with each stage building on abilities developed in the previous stage: Stages are related to age, development is discontinuous, with qualitatively different capabilities developing in each stage.

        Sigmund Freud created a psychoanalysis model of human development based upon the erogenous zones of the body. His belief was that parents played a crucial role in managing their children’s sexual and aggressive drives during the first few years of life to foster their proper development. His developmental stages were: Oral stage of psychosexual development (ages 0-18 months), Anal Stage of Psychosexual Development (18 months-3 ½ years), Phallic Stage of Psychosexual development (3 ½ years-6 years), and Latency Stage of Psychosexual Development 6 years-puberty), and Genital stage of Psychosexual Development.

        According to Eric Erikson, there are eight different social stages a person must go through as they mature. Erikson's eight stages of psychosocial development include: trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame/doubt, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority, identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation, and integrity vs. despair. Erikson believed that his psychosocial principle was genetically inevitable in shaping human development. Furthermore, that it occurs in all people. Erikson, like Freud, was largely concerned with how personality and behavior is influenced after birth and not before birth, especially during childhood.

        James Marcia used the term identity status to describe four distinctive developmental identity viewpoints. His stages include: identity diffusion, identity foreclosure, and moratorium and identity achievement. Marcia’s theory of identity achievement claims that two distinct parts form an adolescent’s identity. Which are a time when one’s values and choices are being reevaluated and commitment. She expanded upon Erikson’s Concept of identity crisis and identity confusion.

        Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory established a structure to study the many connections between the developing child from mother and father relationships to the environment, community settings, cultural influences and financial factors. Brofenbrenner’s ecological systems theory included 5 stages: Microsystem, Mesosystem, Exosystem, Macrosystem, and chronosystem. He believed the interaction between factors in the child’s maturing biology, his immediate family/community environment, and the societal setting fuels and steers his development. His bioecological theory has provided links to why children each develop differently and what aspects of development are in the child’s control and which are not.



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