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Human Development Over the Lifespan

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According to chapter seventeen of “Nursing of Fundamentals” (2016), there are many different theories of human development, including the following theories, Freud’s, Erikson’s, Havighurst’s, Piaget’s, Kohlberg’s, Westerhoff’s, and Bandura’s. Freud’s theory discusses the psychosexual development of individuals in different stages of life. Erikson’s theory discusses the eight stages of development relating to the stage of psychosocial crisis. Havighurst’s theory discusses stages of development in relation to the tasks that an individual should be performing during each stage of development. Piaget’s theory is a cognitive theory that discusses the stage an individual is in and the behaviors occurring during the different stages of development. Kohlberg’s theory discusses that people go through three different levels of moral reasoning in the development process. Westerhoff’s theory discusses how an individual’s faith develops as one goes through the different stages of development. Bandura’s theorized that people learn from the interaction, observation, and imitation of those around them.

According to chapter seventeen of “Nursing of Fundamentals” (2016), the process of development in humans starts from the moment we are conceived and continues until we die, the speed in which we develop varies depending on what developmental stage we are in. A baby is conceived when a sperm and ovum unite becoming a zygote. Once a zygote is created it travels to the uterus where it is implanted into the uterine wall. About three weeks after conception, a zygote becomes an embryo. This is when the organs and spinal cord begin to form. Shortly after the organs and spinal cord begin to form, the eyes and heart are formed.

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As you can see, there is a lot that happens with the development of a baby before most women even know that they are pregnant. Two months after conception the embryo is now called a fetus. It remains a fetus until the baby is delivered. The average length of a pregnancy is between thirty-seven and forty-one weeks, during this time the fetus gains a considerable amount of weight, the organs have matured, and the fetus is able to function outside of the mother’s womb. Before and during a pregnancy women should receive prenatal care from their doctor. Twenty-eight days after a baby is born it is considered an infant. During the infancy stage, rapid development is occurring from learning how to raise their head, bringing their hands to their mouth, following a moving object with their eyes, smiling, making noises, rolling and much more! As many people know, breast milk is the ideal nutrition for an infant for the first six months. When an infant is between four and six months old we can begin to introduce them to solid foods such as rice and cereal at first. An infant should not be introduced to whole milk until they are about twelve months old.

Safety is a big concern during most of the stages of development! The toddler stage is from about one to three years of age. During this time the rate of physical growth slows down a little bit, development of motor skills increases, and maturation in the organ systems is occurring. Education is important during this stage of life. Toddler progress from standing, to learning to walk, to learning to climb stairs. During this phase of life, routines are important. During the preschool years, motor skills increase, calorie and fluid intake increase, and imagination and magical thinking are important. A child in the preschool stage is learning to run, jump, and roll. A school age child is between the ages of six and twelve years of age. During this stage, physical growth slows down and the body-systems are maturing. There are a few concerns during this stage including obesity in those children who are not very active and bullying.

School age children often enjoy learning new skills such as learning to ride a bike. They also enjoy competition and working with other and are becoming capable of making judgments based on reasoning not just what they see. During the adolescence stage there is an increase in physical, social, and emotional changes. Children begin to hit puberty during this stage. Children tend to have increase nutrition concerns during this stage and are known for making decisions that are always good. They are also known to engage in some risky behaviors. During adolescence, children are known to rely on their peers for friendship and support. Throughout all stage of development the main focus needs to be on prevention, health assessment, safety, education, and individual care for their growth and developmental needs.

According to chapter eighteen of “Nursing of Fundamentals” (2016), young adulthood occurs from age eighteen to age thirty-four. During this developmental stage individuals reach their peak physical growth and the thinking process is being carried out in a more complex manner. Some things that occur during this stage include the continuing of education, changing of jobs, and beginning the journey of parenting. Primary developmental tasks during young adulthood include gaining mature relationships with people of both sexes around your age, accepting one’s physical appearance, preparing for marriage and family life, selecting an occupation, and acquiring their own set of values and ethics. Some of the main risk factors and safety concerns of young adults include cigarette use, alcohol use, illicit drug use, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, motor vehicle accidents, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and mental health. Middle adulthood occurs from age thirty-five to age sixty-five. During this stage of life a few physical and cognitive changes begin to occur such as sarcopenia, crystalized intelligence, and fluid intelligence. Some of the primary developmental tasks in middle adulthood include reaching out to others to guide and give back to the next generation or becoming self-centered and narcissistic. Health risks during middle adulthood include cancer, cardiovascular disease, and nonfatal accidents.

The next stage of life is older adulthood, anyone who is sixty-five and older. This stage is broken into three groups, young old, middle old, and old-old. Young old is from sixty-five to seventy- four years of age. Middle old is from seventy-five to eighty-four years of age. Old-old is from eighty-five years of age and on. During this stage of life changes in mobility, skin, hair, facial structure, and body build are occurring. Health and safety risks of older adults include, Alzheimer’s, chronic illnesses, acute illnesses, and falls.

As you can see humans are always changing and always developing throughout every stage of life. We aren’t always developing and changing at the same rate of speed sometimes the rate increase and sometimes the rate decreases but it is always moving forward. One can learn a lot about what is happening in their life by knowing the different stages of life. We saw that there is physical, psychosocial, and cognitive development occurring at all stages of developments. We also know that there are different health risks and safety concerns that are prevalent in each stage of development. I really enjoyed taking a deeper look into the different developmental stages of life throughout chapters seventeen and eighteen of “Nursing of Fundamentals” (2016).


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