The lives of individuals are characterized by a variety of processes which work together in ensuring growth and development is accomplished; life-span perspective suggests that the processes occur all through from birth to death. This is a view that has been adopted by modern developmental psychologists contrary to the view that study of developmental processes should focus on the period from birth to maturity. Development is considered a continuous process which results phenotypic characteristics of an individual; this process occurs through cell differentiation within the body. In order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of life-span human development, it is important to grasp the concept of change and how it is triggered at every stage of development. It has seven distinguished characteristics which depict development as; multidimensional, multidisciplinary, multidirectional, lifelong, plastic, historically-embedded and contextual.
Let us look deeper into its multidimensional, multidisciplinary and plastic characteristics. First and foremost, lifespan perspective is considered multidimensional due to its involvement in the physical, mental and social developmental domains (Study mode, 2012). The physical domain lays emphasis on the growth of body organs and specialization to carry out various functions; it studies observable changes such as aging process, ability to move and outward characteristics in order to determine developmental process. In the cognitive aspect, skills such as problem-solving, memory, perception, language and learning abilities are given focus as they determine the extent to which a person changes as he or she develops, whereas, the psychosocial aspect is concerned with development of emotions, personality traits, communication skills and interaction an individual has with members of the society and the environment; individuals are able to learn what is expected of them in the family, society and personal relationships.
The second characteristic of lifespan perspective is the multidisciplinary nature of human developmental process; though lifespan perspective is a concept mostly studied in psychology, biology and education, it explores a variety of disciplines (Berger, 2008). The study of human development is an interest shared by many specialists; psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists and medical researchers are all caught up in the quest to discover hidden mysteries of the human development process through a lifetime.
Berger states that development is also characterized by plasticity; this developmental characteristic refers to the qualities in thought processes and ability of individuals to explain and respond to changes occurring in their entire lifetime (2008). This is inclusive of the problems a person is likely to encounter and how dealing with them will change him or her for the better or worse. The traits individuals acquire in this aspect are known as plastic traits, this is in reference to any trait that can undergo change at some point in a person’s lifetime.
According to Custom Writing Tips (2012), there are factors that affect the human development process; biological, socio-cultural and individual depending on their effects. Some of the biological factors include gender, heredity, hormones and race. Male and female individuals develop differently throughout their lifetime, early years have limited differences but on the onset of adolescence, girls tend to develop faster than boys of the same age and this is witnessed in their holistic development. Every individual has varying levels of growth hormones in the body; those with higher levels will grow and develop faster than their counterparts with lower content. The rate of development can also be determined by genetic factors an individual acquires from his or her parents, this determines height, color of skin, hair, eyes and even traits that are not physical such as intelligence.
Subsequently, there are socio-cultural factors affecting development of individuals; income levels, educational capability, life experiences, healthcare service provision, family size and environment. The income level of an individual will determine the extent to which the basic needs such as food, clothing, education and shelter are provided; low income suggests poor nutrition and accommodation which hinder healthy growth and development. Excellent healthcare provision will ensure all aspects of growth and development are catered for efficiently. Educated individuals are equipped with the knowledge and skills to ensure developmental needs are taken care of. Having a small family will enable provision for the family’s daily needs with ease; among these is proper nutrition (Custom Writing Tips, 2012).
Individual factors include; diet, educational level, physical activity, employment, disease and establishment of social relations. A person who observes a balanced diet routine ensures the body is provided with the required nutrients in the right amount. This, in combination with regular physical exercises ensures healthy development of body tissue and building of resistance against diseases that may hinder growth and development. Immunization and regular check-ups also play a role in this; individuals who have had disease experiences tend to develop slowly (Custom Writing Tips, 2012).
Current and future work in Healthcare and Human Service provision may be affected by various concerns in relation to lifespan perspective; health of individuals is threatened by the increase in chemical use in food production, preservation and genetic modifications likely to cause more diseases. Parenting and education has been made more complex due to the economy rise and working culture; parents spend more time working to fend for their families instead of being a part of their children’s developmental process. In the socio-cultural context, advancement in technology has facilitated interaction of diverse cultures; individuals develop by learning about themselves and other people worldwide. Individuals should cooperate in ensuring the growth and development of all is enhanced, this has been and continues to be actualized through the implementation of social policies to cater for nutrition and health needs of citizens.
Berger, K. S. (2008). The developing person through the lifespan (7th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers. Retrieved Feb. 1, 2013 from http://www.maryaikens.blogspot.com/2011/08/li
Custom Writing Tips (2012). Human Growth and Development and the Factors that Influence the Processes, Retrieved Feb. 1, 2013 from http://www.customwritingtips.com/component
Study mode (2012). Life Span Perspective Paper, Retrieved Feb. 1, 2013 from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Life-Span-Perspective-Paper-995480.html