Life Span Human Development 91311_1-1

Social Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective (9th Edition)

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Life Span Human Development
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Human Development The field of human development is the scientific study of patterns of change and stability that occur as an individual matures from conception to death. Developmental scientists are interested in describing how individuals change over the course of their lives, explaining why these changes occur, and understanding individual differences in life courses. Developmental research also has been stimulated by social pressures to improve people’s lives .
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Historical Context of Human Development Prevailing ideas about human nature (fortunately) have changed over time. During the Middle Ages, the religious notion of original sin led people to believe that children were inherently bad and that harsh discipline and moral training were needed to purge them of evil.
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17th Century John Locke, an English philosopher and physician, proposed a more positive view. Children are born tabula rasa – a blank slate. Life experiences “write” on this slate to help to form our talents and personalities. According to Locke, we all our products of our environments. Changing negative influences in our environments is the best way to change the course of development.
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Late Eighteenth Century The French philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, rejected Locke’s position in favor of an even more positive view of human nature. Rousseau proposed the doctrine of innate goodness. Humans are born “basically good” . The goal of raising children is to protect them from the corrupting influences of society.
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Major Periods of Human Development Developmental scientists consider eight major periods of human development. Prenatal – conception to birth Infancy and Toddlerhood – birth to 2 years Early childhood – 3 to 6 years Middle childhood – 7 to 11 years Adolescence – 12 to 18 years Early Adulthood - 19 to 40 years Middle Adulthood - 41 to 64 years Late Adulthood – 65+ years
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Subdivisions of the Elderly Bernice Neugarten suggested that the elderly should be divided into 3 subgroups: The young-old or “the frisky” The old-old or “the frail” The oldest-old or “the fragile”
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The Young-Old – the ‘Frisky’ These older individuals are aged 65 – 74 years. Most of these people continue to pursue the leisure interests and hobbies that they developed during middle-age. Most of these individuals are active and relatively healthy.
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These individuals are aged 75-84 years of age. Some people in this age group have begun to “slow down” relative to their performance as young-old individuals. Some individuals will have developed one
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This document was uploaded on 10/27/2011 for the course EDHD 400 at Maryland.

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Life Span Human Development 91311_1-1 - Life Span Human...

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